Gambling is a popular recreational activity that involves betting a sum of money on a chance event. It can be a fun way to socialize or relieve stress. However, it can also have a negative impact on your life. You may become dependent on gambling or it may trigger depression or other mental problems. If you think you or a loved one is developing a gambling problem, there are some things you can do to help.
While it’s important to seek help from a health care professional if you or your loved one are experiencing gambling-related issues, there are other things you can do to address the issue on your own. For example, you can try to distract yourself by taking up a hobby, spending time with friends and family, or going for a walk.
One of the first steps you can take is to set some boundaries for your gambling habits. This means not risking your credit or bank account, and not micromanaging your gambling impulses. You should also limit the amount of cash you’re able to spend on gambling. Keep a limited amount of cash on hand and close any online betting accounts.
Another important step you can take is to work with a support group or a mentor. These individuals are former addicts and will be able to give you tips and advice. They can also be your accountability partner, ensuring that you do not relapse.
Family members should also encourage their loved one to seek help. This is especially important if they are concerned about the long-term impact of their gambling behavior. Often, the underlying problems will only surface when the gambler stops. A family member can also provide encouragement and guidance during therapy sessions.
If you or a loved one are considering treatment, you can ask your primary care physician to evaluate your gambling problem. The results of a gambling screen are not a diagnostic tool, but they will give you an idea of whether your behaviors are negatively affecting your health. In addition, the results of a screen can be useful in helping you focus on the consequences of your gambling. Ideally, you should avoid using terms such as compulsive or pathological gambling in your answers to the screening questions.
Once you or a loved one have received a diagnosis of gambling disorder, you should talk to a counselor about the best ways to handle the situation. There are many types of therapy that are used to treat gambling disorders. Some of these include cognitive behavioral therapy, psychodynamic therapy, and group therapy. Counseling is free, and you can get the information you need in a non-threatening, confidential setting.
Depending on the extent of your gambling problem, you should be enrolled in a treatment program. Some of these programs include a support group, education classes, and peer support. As you continue to work toward recovery, you should learn from your mistakes and strengthen your support network. Joining a support group can also help you make new friends outside of gambling.