Dealing With Gambling Disorders

Gambling involves risking something of value on an activity based primarily on chance with the hope of realizing a profit. It has existed in every society since prerecorded history and is woven into many customs and rites of passage. It can bring great wealth and moments of grandeur to some, but it is also a major source of family turmoil, debt, bankruptcy, and even criminal activity for others.

Some people are more likely to develop gambling disorders than others, and a genetic link has been suggested. However, a person’s environment is also important and can contribute to compulsive gambling. If someone you know has a problem, try to gently raise the issue. Having an honest, non-confrontational discussion is often the best way to encourage them to seek treatment.

It is important to remember that a person with a gambling addiction may be in a state of denial and will probably reject criticism, so it is better to avoid critical comments or belittling the individual. Instead, a more effective approach is to point out how gambling has damaged their lives and how it is negatively impacting those around them. You can also suggest they try self-help strategies or peer support, which are more appropriate for less severe gambling problems. For serious issues, professional gambling treatment is recommended.

Those who are struggling with a gambling disorder need to retrain their brains to associate pleasure with other things, not just gambling. As time passes, gamblers become desensitized to the pleasurable rush that comes from gambling and need to bet more to get the same pleasure. This is a dangerous cycle that can lead to other addictions, such as substance abuse and an eating disorder.

Another way to combat the urge to gamble is to refocus one’s attention on activities that provide similar stimulation, such as yoga, deep breathing exercises and meditation. It is also helpful to identify and challenge negative thinking habits, such as the illusion of control and irrational beliefs.

Trying to manage a gambling addiction can be extremely stressful for everyone involved. In some cases, the gambler’s family members will need to take legal action or change their wills to protect their finances and inheritance. In addition, it is important to seek out help from a trusted therapist, who can provide advice on how to deal with this issue in a healthy and productive way. In the end, it is important for family members to realize that they are not alone in their struggle and should reach out to other affected individuals for support. They can also find solace in activities that they enjoy together, such as spending quality time with their children and spouses. It is a good idea to rekindle old hobbies or introduce new ones, such as taking up a sport or art class.