In today’s world, gambling is more acceptable and accessible than ever. In fact, four in five Americans has gambled at some point in their lives. Every state has legalized gambling, and you can gamble right from your computer, smartphone, or other gadget. Yet, while more people gamble, around two million Americans are addicted to gambling, and 20 million have a gambling problem. So what should you do if you think you’ve had enough?
The negative consequences of gambling addiction can be physical, psychological, and social. In fact, problem gambling is classified as an impulse control disorder. In addition to damaging physical health, problem gambling can also lead to mental distress and depression. It can even lead to attempts at suicide. Luckily, there is help for people with gambling problems. The first step is to seek out treatment. In many cases, therapy can reduce the urge to gamble. Cognitive behavioural therapy is one way to do this.
Another important step toward gambling recovery is to strengthen your social network. Family members, friends, and other acquaintances are great places to start. Enrolling in educational classes, volunteering, or joining peer support groups can all help. If you’ve recently begun gambling, you can try joining a peer support group such as Gamblers Anonymous. These groups are modeled after Alcoholics Anonymous and encourage participants to find a sponsor, an experienced gambler who will provide guidance.