How to Overcome Gambling Disorders

Gambling is an activity in which a person stakes something of value (typically money) on an event with the potential for a large prize. It involves a high degree of uncertainty, and the likelihood of winning is determined by chance. People gamble in casinos, racetracks, on television and the Internet. They also bet on sports, horse races, lottery tickets, bingo, slot machines and instant scratch cards.

Whether or not you gamble, it is always good to manage your bankroll wisely. Only gamble with money you can afford to lose and make sure that gambling does not take the place of other activities that you enjoy, such as family time or exercise. It is also a good idea to set a time limit for yourself before you start gambling and to walk away when this time is up, even if you are winning. You should also avoid chasing your losses, as the more you try to win back what you have lost, the more likely you are to lose even more.

When gambling becomes a problem, you can seek treatment at your local addiction treatment center. Behavioral therapy can help you learn to control your behavior and recognize the triggers that cause you to gamble. In addition, therapists can address other mood disorders that may be contributing to your problem gambling, such as depression or anxiety.

The first step in overcoming compulsive gambling is admitting that you have a problem. This can be a difficult step, especially if you have lost a lot of money and strained or even broken relationships as a result of your gambling. However, it is important to realize that you can get help and rebuild your life. Many others have successfully overcome gambling problems, and you can too.

Mental health professionals have developed criteria to identify when someone has a gambling disorder, which is included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Psychiatric Disorders (DSM). This new category on behavioral addictions is based on research that shows gambling disorders are similar to substance-related behaviors in clinical expression, brain origin, comorbidity and physiology.

Symptoms of a gambling disorder include: Is preoccupied with thoughts of gambling (e.g., reliving gambling experiences, planning or handicapping the next gamble, finding ways to gamble). Is restless or irritable when attempting to cut down or stop gambling. Frequently lies to conceal the extent of his or her involvement in gambling. Has jeopardized or lost a relationship, job, educational or career opportunity due to gambling. Relies on others to provide funds to finance his or her gambling. Gambles when he or she is depressed, upset, or in pain.