How to Get Help For Gambling Disorder


A gamble is any game in which you stake something of value (usually money) on a random chance of winning. You can find gambling in places like casinos, racetracks, and even online. Some people play just to have fun, while others become addicted to the rush of risk and the possibility of big rewards. Problem gambling often begins as an effort to relieve unpleasant feelings, but it can quickly spiral out of control. The good news is that you can get help for your gambling problems.

The first step is admitting that you have a problem. This can be tough, especially if you’ve lost money or suffered strained or broken relationships as a result of your behavior. But many people have recovered from gambling disorder and rebuilt their lives.

Gambling is often thought of as a form of entertainment, but it is also a dangerous activity that can lead to addiction and ruin lives. Some experts believe that certain genes are predisposed to trigger impulsivity and reward-seeking behaviors, while others point to environmental factors like traumatic experiences as contributors.

While there is no specific cure for gambling disorder, psychotherapy and other types of counseling can help people identify and change unhealthy emotions and thoughts. Some types of therapy, such as family therapy and marriage, career, and credit counseling, can also help people address the underlying issues that are contributing to their gambling problem and start working toward recovery.

Many people engage in gambling because it’s enjoyable and can be socially rewarding. But it’s important to remember that gambling is a game of chance, not skill. You can increase your chances of winning by playing games with the lowest house edge, using betting strategies, and knowing when to walk away.

Another reason why gambling is so addictive is that it creates a temporary “high.” Whenever you win, your brain releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter that makes you feel happy and excited. But this surge of dopamine can mask other, more pressing needs, such as eating and sleeping, which are essential for survival. It can also distort your judgment and make it harder to recognize when you’ve had enough.

Some people may also gamble as a way of relieving boredom or stress, but it’s important to find healthier ways to relieve these feelings. You can try exercising, spending time with friends who don’t gamble, practicing relaxation techniques, or finding new hobbies. It’s also a good idea to set a limit for how much you are willing to lose before you go to the casino or other gambling venue and stick to it.

If you know someone with a gambling problem, talk to them about getting treatment. Offer to help them call a hotline, speak with a counselor, or join a support group, such as Gamblers Anonymous. Above all, listen carefully and compassionately. It takes tremendous strength and courage to admit that you have a problem, especially if it’s affecting your relationships and finances.