How to Overcome Gambling


Gambling is an activity in which participants stake something of value – typically money – on an event that has a potential for a prize win. This can be done in casinos, bookmakers, sports arenas and online. It involves risk-taking and an element of chance, making it appealing to people who like to take risks and challenge themselves.

There is a fine line between gambling and pathological gambling (PG), which is characterized by recurrent, maladaptive patterns of behavior that disrupt daily functioning. People who have PG are often reluctant to seek help, and many do not know that they have a problem. PG may begin during adolescence or early adulthood, and it tends to run in families. It can be triggered by trauma or by social inequality, especially in women. Males are more likely to develop PG in strategic or “face-to-face” forms of gambling, such as card games and blackjack.

The most difficult step in overcoming gambling problems is admitting that there is a problem. It can take tremendous strength and courage to do this, particularly if the person has lost large amounts of money or damaged relationships along the way. Fortunately, there are treatment options available for those with a gambling disorder. These include individual and family therapy, peer support groups such as Gamblers Anonymous, and financial and credit counseling.

One of the keys to overcoming gambling is to strengthen your support network. You might try reaching out to friends and family, joining a community sports team or club, taking a class or attending a self-help group for gamblers (Gamblers Anonymous). Postponing the urge to gamble also can be helpful, as it allows the urge to pass or weaken over time.