How to Overcome Gambling
Gambling is an activity where someone risks something of value (usually money) on a game with a significant element of randomness or chance in the hope of winning. It can take many forms, such as casino games, card games, fruit machines, video-draw poker machines, slot machines and two-up. It also includes betting on horse and greyhound races, football accumulators and other sporting events, as well as lotteries, instant scratch cards and bingo. Speculation can be a form of gambling, although it is usually distinguished from gambling by the fact that actuarial methods are used to calculate appropriate premiums, and the risk involved is transferred from one party to another (e.g., a sports coach who bets against his own team to mitigate the financial impact of a losing season).
In the past, the psychiatric community generally regarded pathological gambling as more of an impulse control disorder than an addiction, even though it has the same biological underpinnings. However, in a move that has been widely praised as a landmark decision, the APA moved pathological gambling to the addictions chapter of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in May of this year. This shift has significantly changed the way that psychiatrists think about and treat this problem.
The first step towards overcoming compulsive gambling is admitting that there is a problem, and this can be difficult for those who have suffered from it for years. In addition, a person suffering from a gambling disorder will often face a range of personal and professional problems that must be addressed, including financial difficulties and damaged relationships. It can be helpful to seek help from a professional therapist, who can provide support and guidance to overcome the addiction.
A key to overcoming gambling is finding ways to replace the feeling of excitement and euphoria with other activities. For example, exercising, eating a healthy diet, spending time with friends and family members, and participating in a recreational hobby can all be effective substitutes for gambling. Additionally, it can be useful to consider seeking treatment for underlying mood disorders, such as depression, anxiety or substance abuse, as these can both trigger gambling behavior and make it harder to stop.
In severe cases of gambling addiction, there are inpatient or residential treatment programs available. These can be very effective in helping people break the habit and regain control of their lives. Moreover, seeking peer support through a group such as Gamblers Anonymous can be an invaluable tool in helping to sustain recovery. Additionally, it is important to address any underlying issues that are contributing to the gambling addiction, such as marital and relationship problems, debt, or work stressors. By taking the steps necessary to recover, a person with a gambling disorder can reclaim their life and begin to rebuild those relationships that have been negatively impacted by their addiction. Moreover, it is important to remember that recovery is a process and that some slip-ups are to be expected along the way.