Dealing With Gambling Problems

Gambling involves the risk of something of value (money, property or personal possessions) on an activity that relies heavily on chance. It has existed in every society since prerecorded history and has become an integral part of many cultures’ rites and rituals. Historically, gambling has had both positive and negative social impacts. It can provide excitement, fantasy, and moments of grandeur for some, while causing financial ruin, crime, and family devastation for others. Regardless of the specific activity, gambling often involves a variety of psychological processes and events that drive the behavior, resulting in an overall vicious cycle that is difficult to break.

The Bible teaches that God created us to be managers of His resources, not reckless spenders of money and other valuables. The Bible also warns that bad company corrupts good character (1 Corinthians 15:33). Sadly, gambling is frequently associated with corruption, dishonesty, and other immorality, which is why it has been condemned throughout the ages.

People with mental health issues are at greater risk for gambling problems. They may use gambling as a way to distract themselves from painful feelings and avoid dealing with emotions that are too uncomfortable. They may even lie to loved ones about their gambling activities in an attempt to hide the problem from them.

It is not uncommon for bills to go unpaid, credit cards to be maxed out and debts to accumulate as a result of gambling. It is also not unusual for gamblers to take out pay day loans, which have high interest rates and can quickly spiral out of control. Eventually, it is not uncommon for people to turn to theft or other illegal means to fund their gambling habit.

When gambling becomes a problem, it is often hard for friends and family members to know what to do. They may try to convince the person to stop, but this is rarely effective. A better solution is to seek professional help, which is available through many organisations that offer support, assistance and counselling for people who are experiencing harm from gambling.

A key strategy for managing problematic gambling is to identify the triggers that cause it. This can be as simple as changing your route to work if it passes a casino, turning off the TV when you watch sports, or leaving all non-essential cash at home when going out. It is also helpful to challenge unhealthy thought patterns, such as the illusion of control, irrational beliefs and the gambler’s fallacy, which can contribute to compulsive gambling.

If you are struggling with gambling addiction, it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible. There are numerous evidence-based treatments, such as cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavior therapy, which can help you change the ways that you think about gambling and deal with your triggers. Some organisations also offer peer-to-peer support groups for people with gambling problems, which can be a great way to find connections and share your story in a nonjudgmental environment.