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Help For Gambling Disorder

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You’re sitting in a twinkly casino, filled up on buffet food and ready to roll the dice. Maybe you’re dreaming of winning a big jackpot and retiring on your own private island. Gambling is a fun activity that can also be dangerous, especially when it becomes a serious problem. Getting help for gambling disorder is important, as it can affect your health, work and relationships. It can even lead to criminal activities and homelessness.

Problem gamblers often try to hide their behavior, lying to family members and therapists about the extent of their involvement with gambling or hiding evidence of it, such as empty betting slips. They may also attempt to reclaim money they’ve lost by forging checks or other illegal methods. They may even jeopardize a relationship, job or education opportunity or steal from others to finance their gambling habit. Often, problem gamblers feel helpless and guilty about their addiction.

A therapist who specializes in problem gambling can help you understand and control your impulses, teach you relaxation techniques, and offer support. They can also identify underlying mood disorders such as depression or anxiety that may trigger gambling, or worsen the symptoms of compulsive gambling. Therapy for gambling disorder can also be used in conjunction with other forms of treatment, such as family therapy or marriage counseling, to address specific problems caused by the gambling disorder.

The first step in breaking the gambling habit is admitting that you have a problem. You may find it difficult to accept that your behavior is out of control, especially if you’ve lost a lot of money and have damaged or strained relationships because of gambling. Some people, especially those from certain cultures, may think that gambling is a normal pastime, making it more difficult to recognize that it’s becoming a problem.

Whether you’re playing bingo, buying lottery tickets or playing video poker, it’s important to only bet what you can afford to lose and not spend more than your weekly entertainment budget. Set a time limit before you start and stick to it. Avoid chasing losses, as this will only lead to bigger and bigger losses.

Gambling can be a great way to socialize, but there are many other ways to do it that don’t involve risking your hard-earned money. You could join a book club, sports team or volunteer for charity. If you have trouble forming new friendships, consider joining a peer support group like Gamblers Anonymous. The group’s model is based on Alcoholics Anonymous, and it can be helpful to have someone with similar struggles to share your journey. You might also consider seeking professional help, such as cognitive behavioral therapy or psychodynamic therapy, if you’re struggling with gambling disorder. These therapies can help you learn to manage your emotions, change negative patterns of behavior and repair your relationships and finances. They can also be used in combination with other forms of treatment, such as family and marital therapy, career and credit counseling.

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