How to Stop Gambling When You Have a Problem

Gambling is the act of placing something of value on an uncertain outcome of a game or event, with knowledge of the risks involved, in hopes of winning. It ranges from the purchase of lottery tickets by people with little money to sophisticated casino gambling by wealthy people for fun or profit. It can also lead to crime, such as bribery and blackmail.

In some cases, gambling can cause mental illness. It is important to recognize the warning signs and seek help if you or someone you know has a problem. Fortunately, there are several treatment options available, including family therapy and marriage, career, and credit counseling. These treatments can help you work through the specific issues that caused your loved one to gamble and lay the foundation for recovery.

It can be difficult to resist the urge to gamble when you have a problem, but it is possible to stop gambling and enjoy life again. To break your habit, start by strengthening your support network and finding healthier ways to relieve boredom or unpleasant emotions. For example, you can try exercising, spending time with friends who don’t gamble, or learning new hobbies. You can also join a support group, such as Gamblers Anonymous, which is based on the 12-step program of Alcoholics Anonymous. It can be helpful to have a sponsor, a former gambler who has experience staying free from gambling addiction. You can also try cognitive behavioral therapy, which teaches you to resist harmful thoughts and habits.