Warning Signs of Gambling Problems


Whether placing a bet on the next big football game or buying a scratchcard to try for the jackpot, gambling involves taking a risk and putting something of value at stake. It can be fun and exciting, but it can also be dangerous, especially if you are addicted to it. Read on to learn about the warning signs of gambling problems and how you can get help.

The earliest evidence of gambling dates to 2,300 B.C., when Chinese tiles were discovered that showed images of rudimentary betting games. Since then, people have been betting on sports, horse races, games of chance, and even events such as lottery draws. Gambling can be a harmless diversion or a serious addiction that strains relationships, interferes with work, and causes financial ruin. In severe cases, it may lead to legal issues, suicide, or even homicide. The problem with gambling is that, like other addictive behaviors, it is hard to stop.

When a person is addicted to gambling, they will have trouble controlling their spending and other areas of their life that should be priority. They may lie to friends and family, hide their gambling behavior, and even steal money in order to gamble more. They will often have irrational beliefs that their luck will turn around and they will win back their losses. This is called chasing your losses and it leads to bigger and more significant losses.

A therapist can help with a gambling disorder in several ways. One way is to treat any underlying conditions that could be contributing to the behavior, such as substance abuse or a mental health condition like depression or anxiety. Another way is to teach coping skills and provide emotional support. Cognitive behavioral therapy, for example, can help someone change their unhealthy thoughts and behaviors about gambling. It can also help them solve financial, work, and relationship problems caused by the gambling disorder.

There are a variety of treatment options for a gambling disorder, including psychotherapy, support groups, and medication. Some medications have been approved by the FDA to treat other disorders and can help manage symptoms of a gambling disorder. Family therapy can help a person deal with the impact of their addiction on their family and learn healthy coping skills.

If you know or suspect that you have a gambling problem, the best thing to do is to seek help as soon as possible. A therapist can help you find the right treatment option for you. In addition, you can help yourself by setting limits in your gambling behavior. For example, only gamble with money you can afford to lose, and never be tempted by free cocktails or other offers at casinos. You can also keep your bank accounts separate, have someone else handle the finances, and close online betting accounts. If you live with a problem gambler, it is important to set boundaries and make sure they cannot access your credit cards or bank account.