Gambling is a popular pastime that can offer an adrenaline rush and a chance to win money, but it can be addictive. If you feel like gambling is taking over your life and affecting your mental health, there are ways to get help. You can talk to a therapist or try self-help tips.
The biggest step is acknowledging you have a problem, which can be difficult, especially if you’ve lost a lot of money or strained relationships. There are people who have overcome gambling addictions and rebuilt their lives. You can find help at local support groups or online therapy services like BetterHelp.
If you have an underlying mental health issue, you are more at risk of developing a gambling problem. Often, people who are depressed or anxious will turn to gambling to escape from their feelings and get a quick fix. They can also become dependent on gambling to relieve boredom or stress, and it’s common for this to lead to debt. If this sounds familiar, you can speak to a free and confidential debt advisor at StepChange.
The types of gambling that most often cause problems are slot machines, video poker, and table games like blackjack or roulette. These activities can also be conducted using a variety of materials that have value, but are not actual cash, such as marbles, tokens in a game of marbles, or collectible cards like Magic: The Gathering. Pathological gambling (PG) is characterized by recurrent, maladaptive patterns of gambling behavior that cause significant impairment or distress. PG is typically diagnosed using one of several self-report or interview tools, and treatment consists of psychosocial interventions, pharmacotherapy, or combination therapies.
In addition to causing harm to individuals, gambling can impact their families. It is important for family members to understand the warning signs and seek help for themselves if they are concerned about a loved one’s gambling behavior. A specialized therapist or counselor can help family members learn more about gambling disorder and develop strategies for addressing it.
Family members of problem gamblers need to set clear boundaries around their own finances and credit. They should never allow a person to use money they need for essentials, such as paying bills or rent, on gambling. They should also avoid enabling their loved ones by giving them cash or credit when they ask for it. If they are unable to control their spending, it may be necessary for the whole family to share financial management duties. This should include setting limits on how much time a person can spend at the casino, and limiting the amount of money they can gamble with. Lastly, it is important to encourage other hobbies and entertainment options that do not involve gambling. This will prevent a person from feeling they are missing out on something important by not gambling. This can be a difficult thing to do, but it is well worth the effort for everyone involved. It will help prevent your loved one from relapsing into harmful behaviors and potentially endangering their safety.