Gambling is the act of betting on a random event or something of value in order to win a prize. It may be anything from a game of poker to a horse race. It is a risky pastime that requires a lot of consideration. But for those with a gambling disorder, it can be very addictive.
If you are concerned about your own or a family member’s gambling problem, there are many options for help. You can contact a support group, which provides peer assistance, or seek professional counselling. Having a support network is key to your recovery. Getting treatment can include cognitive-behavioral therapy, which helps you identify and change unhealthy gambling behaviors. You can also join a 12-step recovery program, such as Gamblers Anonymous. These programs are patterned after Alcoholics Anonymous and offer a 12-step plan for overcoming addiction.
The first step is to stop gambling. Although you can’t control the urge to gamble, you can limit the amount of money you spend and the time spent gambling. You should also set a budget for gambling and make sure that it is an expense and not an income. If you have a credit card, get rid of it, and keep a small, easily-accessible amount of cash on hand for emergencies. If you don’t have a credit card, you should set up an account at a bank or financial institution that can handle automatic payments.
If you think that a loved one might be addicted to gambling, you can call the National Gambling Helpline. This service is available 24 hours a day and offers information on the problems associated with gambling. You can use the telephone or online resources to speak with a counselor. It is free and confidential.
Gambling at any age can be problematic, especially if it interferes with school, relationships, or work. However, young people are more likely to develop a gambling disorder than older adults. Symptoms of a gambling disorder can appear in adolescence and can be triggered by other mental health conditions such as depression and bipolar disorders. Some medications may also be used to treat co-occurring conditions.
If your child has a gambling disorder, you may want to consider a family therapy session. This can help the family to work through the issues and understand that the person is not alone. You can also volunteer for a cause or take a class to learn more about gambling.
You can start to make new friends outside of the gaming world. You might consider going to a class on coping skills or joining a peer support group. If you need help with your finances, you can consider a credit counselor. You can also reach out to your friend’s parents or other family members.
If you feel that your gambling addiction is affecting your work or education, you should talk with a professional. If your problem is severe, you should find an inpatient rehab program. You can also participate in group and cognitive behavioral therapy, which can help you to work through the underlying issues.