How to Stop Gambling

Gambling involves putting something of value on an event that has a random outcome in exchange for a prize, and it can be very addictive. It is not just a problem for those who gamble compulsively but also for their loved ones. It is estimated that about two million people in the United States suffer from gambling addiction, which can ruin their lives and lead to serious financial problems and family difficulties. Until recently, the psychiatric community only recognized pathological gambling as an impulse control disorder and not an addiction, but in the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, it has moved to the section on disorders related to substance abuse and is officially considered an addictive disorder.

Those with an addictive gambling disorder are not just losing money; they may also lose their families, careers and friends. They may also have underlying mood conditions, such as depression or anxiety, that are made worse by their gambling behavior. The good news is that help is available. There are several types of psychotherapy that can help people with a gambling problem. These include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), psychodynamic therapy, and group therapy. There are also inpatient or residential treatment and rehab programs for those with severe addictions that cannot be managed on an outpatient basis.

One of the best ways to stop harmful gambling is to limit how much you spend. It is recommended to only gamble with disposable income – not money that you need for bills or other expenses. It is also helpful to set a bankroll and stick to it, and make sure that you do not use any money that you have saved for emergencies.

It is also important to identify triggers that cause you to gamble. This can be things like being bored or lonely, experiencing a stressful day at work or after an argument with a partner. Learning to recognize these triggers and finding other ways to relieve unpleasant feelings can help you avoid unhealthy gambling.

Another way to stop gambling is to find other hobbies and activities that can satisfy your needs for entertainment. You could start taking up an interest, such as reading or playing a musical instrument. You can also distract yourself by exercising or spending time with loved ones. You can also seek support from a gambling disorder helpline or join a gambling recovery support group.

Lastly, you can take steps to manage your finances and credit by keeping a log of your gambling activity. Managing your money is especially important if you are living with someone with a gambling disorder. You can also consider seeking support for yourself from a family or relationship counselor, and getting professional help for any underlying mental health issues that you might be struggling with. You can also talk to StepChange about debt advice if you are struggling with financial difficulties. They can offer confidential and free debt advice.