Dealing With Gambling Addiction

Gambling involves placing a value on an event whose outcome is determined by chance. The event may be anything from a lottery ticket to a game of cards, dice, slots or horse races. People can gamble with money, marbles, animals, fruit and vegetables or any other object of value. The act of gambling is not always legal and many jurisdictions have passed laws to prohibit or limit the practice. Despite the prohibitions, many people continue to gamble. The amount of money legally wagered is estimated to be around $10 trillion per year worldwide.

While gambling has its perks, there are also a number of negative impacts on society. These effects are largely indirect and often overlooked in studies of gambling and can be observed at the personal, interpersonal, and community/societal levels. These indirect impacts are largely due to the financial costs and burdens that gamblers impose on others. These financial impacts, which often lead to debt and bankruptcy, can affect a gambler’s family members, friends, and coworkers, as well as the community as a whole.

There are several ways to overcome a gambling addiction, including cognitive behavioral therapy and the use of self-control techniques. It is also a good idea to seek support from a friend or family member who does not gamble, as well as to join a peer support group like Gamblers Anonymous. The program is based on the 12-step recovery model of Alcoholics Anonymous and is designed to help people with gambling problems find new, healthier ways to relieve boredom and stress.

Another way to deal with a gambling problem is to reduce your risk by limiting your access to money. This can be done by removing credit cards from your wallet, allowing someone else to manage your finances, closing online betting accounts and keeping only a small amount of cash on you at all times. You can also seek financial counseling to work through the specific issues that caused you to gamble and lay the foundation for a financially healthy future.

Finally, you can try to develop other hobbies that involve an element of chance or are social in nature. For example, you can take up a new sport or go to the movies instead of playing a game of cards or visiting the casino. It is also important to find other ways to cope with unpleasant feelings, such as anger or depression, without turning to gambling. Instead, you can try exercising, spending time with non-gambling friends, reading a book, taking up a new hobby or volunteering for a cause. It is important to find a way to cope with these feelings that does not involve gambling, because harmful gambling can have serious consequences for your health and wellbeing. If you are struggling to cope with unpleasant emotions, seek professional help from a counselor.