Getting Help For Gambling Addiction

Gambling is the act of risking something of value (usually money) on an event with a chance of winning a different value. This can be done in a variety of ways, including buying lottery tickets, placing a bet on the horses or sports events, playing the pokies, or even just betting with friends. While many people do gamble from time to time, for some it becomes a problem and can lead to significant financial or emotional harm. In extreme cases, a person may be diagnosed with pathological gambling (PG).

There is no definitive diagnostic criteria for PG; however, there are several defining features of the disorder, including loss of control over gambling activity and an inability to recognize when it has become a problem. Some researchers have proposed that a combination of factors, such as genetics, environment and peer pressure, contribute to the development of a gambling disorder. While a number of treatment options exist for people who have a gambling disorder, research into these approaches has been inconsistent and has demonstrated varying levels of effectiveness.

A lot of the research in this area has been experimental, and is focused on how different game structures or the way in which games are presented can influence a person’s propensity to take risks or make irrational bets. There has also been some work on how legalization and changes in the social context of gambling might affect a person’s propensity to engage in irrational bets or pathological gambling.

The best thing that you can do if you’re concerned about gambling is to talk with one of our counsellors. It’s free, confidential and available 24/7.

Getting help for gambling addiction can be difficult. It takes a tremendous amount of strength and courage to admit that you have a problem, especially if it has led to significant financial losses and strained or broken relationships. But don’t give up if you have a relapse; over time, many people are able to break their gambling habits and build a healthy life.

It is important to only gamble with money that you can afford to lose. If you’re going to gamble, set a bankroll in advance and only play with that amount of money. It’s also helpful to set time limits for yourself and to stop when you’ve reached those limits. Also, never chase your losses; this is called the “gambler’s fallacy” and will only lead to bigger and bigger losses.

Lastly, avoid alcohol and other drugs when gambling. These substances can reduce your awareness and judgment, making it more likely that you’ll make irrational bets or chase losses. If you’re in a casino, don’t be fooled by free cocktails. These aren’t designed to save you down on your luck; they’re there to keep you gambling longer. Also, try to visit casinos midweek, as these are usually less crowded.