How to Cope With Gambling Addiction

Gambling involves betting on a random event and hoping to win something of value, such as money or a prize. It includes games that are purely chance, such as slots or scratchcards, as well as activities like placing bets on sports teams or horse races. Skill can reduce the odds of winning but is not a factor in gambling.

Research suggests that some people may be genetically predisposed to thrill-seeking behaviors and impulsivity. Some people may also have an underactive brain reward system, which can make them more susceptible to gambling addiction. Other factors include stress, depression, substance abuse, and other mental health conditions.

Researchers have found that certain types of therapy can help people struggling with gambling addiction. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, for example, helps individuals change their unhealthy gambling behaviors and thoughts by teaching them healthier coping skills. It can also teach them how to deal with financial, work, and relationships problems caused by gambling.

Other therapies can include family and group therapy, mindfulness, and physical activity. Many states have gambling helplines and other support services. Individuals who struggle with gambling disorder should seek treatment as soon as possible. They should also learn how to cope with unpleasant feelings in healthy ways, such as exercising, spending time with friends who don’t gamble, and practicing relaxation techniques. They should also try to address any underlying mood disorders that might contribute to their compulsive gambling, such as depression or anxiety. If they do not seek treatment, the problem will likely continue to worsen.

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