How to Overcome a Gambling Addiction


Gambling is a popular pastime that involves betting money or something of value on an event with a chance of winning. It can be a fun and exciting way to pass the time, but it can also cause harm if it becomes a problem. Problem gambling can ruin a person’s health and relationships, impair work or study performance and even lead to debt and homelessness. It can also affect families and communities.

While there are some people who do not gamble, over half of the population takes part in some form of gambling activity each year. For some, this can be a harmless diversion but for others it can damage their physical and mental health, cause problems with family and friends, harm their performance at work or study, get them into debt and even cause suicide. The most common cause of problem gambling is a lack of self-control. The most common ways people lose control are through secretive behaviour – hiding their addiction from others, lying about how much they gamble or trying to conceal the activity from those around them – and through compulsive gambling – repeatedly placing bets that they cannot afford.

The most important step in overcoming a gambling addiction is acknowledging that you have a problem. The next steps include seeking help and support. There are a number of online and face-to-face services that can help. Some specialise in providing therapy for individuals with gambling addictions and are able to provide residential treatment. Others offer advice and education for those who are not yet addicted, or are looking to cut down on their gambling.

If you are suffering from a gambling addiction, it’s important to seek help and not suffer in silence. BetterHelp can help you find a therapist who can support you through your recovery journey. You can take a free assessment and be matched with a therapist in as little as 48 hours.

Gambling can be good for the economy, providing jobs and generating tax revenues. It can also promote tourism and boost local businesses. In addition, it can contribute to the community by raising funds for charitable and sporting activities. Many governments use gambling as a way to raise revenue without raising taxes. This includes everything from bingo games in church basements to multimillion-dollar poker tournaments.

When you gamble, your brain releases dopamine – the feel-good neurotransmitter. But it is not only when you win – your brain produces this response even when you lose. This can lead to a vicious cycle where you feel compelled to keep gambling, trying to recover your losses, often with disastrous consequences.