How to Overcome a Gambling Addiction


Gambling is betting something of value, usually money, on an uncertain event with the intention of gaining more than you invested. It can be as simple as putting a penny in a slot machine or as sophisticated as making large bets on sports events or online games. It is an activity that can be found in almost every culture, from primitive dice games among the Bushmen of South Africa and the Aboriginal people of Australia to the modern-day casinos of Las Vegas and Atlantic City.

It is important to understand that gambling is a dangerous habit when it becomes excessive. It can cause major financial problems, including debt and even bankruptcy. It can also destroy relationships and increase feelings of stress and anxiety. It is important to get help when the addiction becomes too strong. Luckily, there are many options for treatment and recovery. These include therapists, support groups, and even self-help apps like BetterHelp.

The first step in overcoming gambling addiction is admitting that you have a problem. This takes tremendous strength and courage, especially if you’ve lost a lot of money or if your gambling has caused strained or broken relationships. It’s also important to recognize the root causes of your gambling addiction, such as depression or anxiety. Once you have a clear understanding of your gambling addiction, it’s time to take action.

You can start by identifying your triggers and setting limits on how often you gamble. This may involve restricting access to your casino account or installing an app that prevents you from visiting gambling websites. It’s also important to identify people, places, or situations that lead to gambling urges and limit your interactions with them. This can be difficult, but it’s essential to your recovery.

Another way to limit your gambling is by practicing relaxation techniques. There are a variety of different meditation exercises and breathing exercises that can help you combat the urge to gamble by lowering your blood pressure, increasing your concentration, and relieving anxiety. It is also important to set financial goals and stick to them. This will prevent you from chasing losses and potentially losing more than you originally won.

Lastly, you can also consider filing for bankruptcy. This is not ideal and should be used as a last resort, but in some cases it can be effective in relieving debts related to gambling. However, it will negatively impact your credit report for 7-10 years.

It is not easy to cope with a loved one’s gambling addiction. Despite your best efforts, it is common to find yourself rationalizing their requests for “just this once.” It’s important to reach out for support and remember that you are not alone in this struggle. There are many resources available, and many families have successfully overcome this challenge. In addition, you can help by establishing boundaries in managing family finances and ensuring that your own credit is not at risk.