How to Overcome Gambling Problems

Gambling is any activity where a person stakes something of value, often money, on the outcome of an event that is uncertain. It can be regulated (as in lotteries) or non-regulated, such as putting money on a sporting event or a game of chance. Gambling triggers a range of human emotions and behaviors that can be harmful, including addiction, depression, anxiety, and problems with family and relationships.

Changing the way you gamble can help to overcome gambling problems. For example, you may find it easier to stay in recovery if you avoid tempting environments and websites, surround yourself with people who encourage healthy habits, and spend more time on healthy activities such as exercise, hobbies, or spending time with friends who don’t gamble. You might also try a peer support group like Gamblers Anonymous, which is based on the 12-step approach used by Alcoholics Anonymous.

A major challenge for people with gambling issues is to recognize that they have a problem and need help. This can be difficult, especially if you have experienced strained or broken relationships as a result of your gambling behavior. In addition, some cultures and communities consider gambling a normal pastime, making it harder to identify a problem.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration doesn’t approve medications to treat gambling disorder, but psychotherapy can be an effective treatment. Psychotherapy is a broad term that refers to a variety of techniques that are used to help a person change unhealthy emotions, thoughts and behaviors. You can seek out this type of treatment by talking to a licensed mental health professional, such as a psychologist or clinical social worker.