Steps to Help a Gambler Overcome the Risks of Gambling


Whether it’s buying a lottery ticket, betting on a horse race or playing the pokies, gambling is an activity that involves taking a risk in exchange for a chance to win money. While many people enjoy a flutter or two from time to time, for others gambling becomes problematic. If you have a friend or family member who is struggling with gambling, there are steps that can be taken to help them overcome the addiction.

Traditionally, the psychiatric community has viewed pathological gambling as a compulsion rather than an addictive disorder. However, with growing evidence that gambling disorders are similar to other impulse-control disorders like kleptomania and pyromania, along with a high comorbidity with substance abuse disorders, the APA in May of this year moved pathological gambling into the Addictions chapter in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).

Gambling can be fun and exciting but it’s important to recognize the risks associated with it. Many gamblers find themselves in debt or struggling with financial problems as a result of their addiction. There are also a number of social and health consequences of gambling that can have a lasting impact on a person’s life.

When a person is in the middle of a gambling spree, it can be difficult to stop because their brain is producing dopamine, a neurotransmitter that makes you feel good and causes you to want more. Research shows that dopamine is produced even when a person is losing money, which can cause them to continue to gamble in order to try and recover their losses.

One of the biggest risks of gambling is that it can take over a person’s life and interfere with their daily routine, personal relationships and work. This can lead to depression, anxiety and other problems. It’s important to balance gambling with other activities and only use disposable income for it. Also, avoid chasing your losses, as the chances of winning back the money you’ve lost are very low.

If you struggle with gambling, you can seek support from a friend or family member, a therapist or a support group for problem gamblers such as Gamblers Anonymous. There are also physical activities that can be used to combat the urge to gamble, such as going for a walk or participating in a sports team or book club. It’s also important to strengthen your support network and consider finding a new hobby, such as volunteering or joining a recreational club. These activities can be great ways to make new friends and help you avoid visiting casinos or gambling websites. In addition, it’s helpful to find a sponsor, someone who has a history of staying free from gambling. This will help keep you accountable and give you a resource to turn to when you feel the urge to gamble rising. This can be especially useful if you’re trying to stop gambling after a loss or to prevent a relapse. Lastly, it’s crucial to understand how gambling works so you can have realistic expectations of your chances of winning.