Dealing With Gambling Problems

Gambling involves risking money or items of value on something based on chance, such as scratch-off tickets, casino games or betting with friends. Some people gamble responsibly and enjoy the thrill of winning, while others struggle with addiction. Problem gambling can damage your health, relationships and finances. It can also interfere with work and study. It can even lead to homelessness and serious legal problems.

Most adults and adolescents have placed a bet of some sort, but for a significant subset this becomes problematic. Those struggling with gambling disorder experience symptoms such as persistent, recurrent and uncontrollable urges to gamble. They may also experience difficulty recognizing and identifying the problem. They might try to conceal their gambling, or lie to family members and other people about the extent of their habit.

Many people gamble as a way to self-soothe unpleasant feelings, unwind or socialize. But there are healthier and more effective ways to do this, such as spending time with friends who don’t gamble, exercising, practicing relaxation techniques or finding new hobbies.

Changing negative thinking habits like the illusion of control, irrational beliefs and the gambler’s fallacy is a crucial part of managing gambling problems. This can help you avoid triggers and retrain your brain to make better decisions.