How to Overcome a Gambling Addiction

Gambling is an activity in which people stake something of value on a random event with the potential to win a prize. It can be done in a variety of ways, including in casinos, horse racetracks, and on the Internet. There are three essential elements to gambling: consideration, risk, and a prize. In addition to the money a person may wager, consideration can also take the form of other valuable goods or services.

Gamblers often exhibit a number of cognitive and motivational biases that distort their perceived odds. For example, they may place more emphasis on a single occurrence (e.g., a winning horse race) than the probability of their selection (e.g., a football team winning a game). In addition, gamblers are susceptible to illusory gains, believing that their recent wins are a sign of future success (this is called the chasing-losses fallacy).

A gambling addiction can be difficult to overcome, particularly if it has caused you to lose substantial amounts of money or strain your relationships with family and friends. However, there are many treatments available to help you get back in control of your life.

One important step is to recognise red flags that your gambling has gone too far. This can include secretive behavior such as hiding your gambling or lying about it, or feeling the need to up your bets in a bid to win lost money back. You can also try using software such as Bet Blocker and GamBan to block websites and set time limits, and avoid playing or betting when you’re upset or stressed.

It’s also a good idea to strengthen your support network and find healthier ways to relieve unpleasant feelings. For example, you might start exercising more, spending time with friends who don’t gamble, or taking up a new hobby. You can also learn to cope with stress and boredom in healthier ways, such as meditation or relaxation techniques.

In addition to a strong support network, you can also seek out treatment options such as counselling or group therapy. A 12-step program based on Alcoholics Anonymous is available for those struggling with an addiction to gambling, and many charities offer advice and counselling for those affected by problem gambling.

If you’re unable to break your gambling habit on your own, consider reaching out to a therapist at BetterHelp. We match you with licensed, accredited therapists who can help you work through the specific issues that gambling has created in your life. Get started by taking our assessment, and we can connect you with a therapist in as little as 48 hours. It’s never too late to regain control of your life and build healthy relationships. Good luck!