How to Manage a Gambling Disorder


Gambling is an activity in which a person wagers something of value on the outcome of an event with the goal of winning a prize. It is a form of risk-taking, often associated with addiction and can result in financial loss and social problems. There are several forms of gambling, including state lotteries, casinos, horse races and sports betting, among others. While some people enjoy gambling as a leisure activity, others develop gambling disorders that cause significant problems in their lives.

Many governments use gambling as a source of revenue, with proceeds used to support public services and charitable initiatives. In addition, a number of states operate lottery games that generate funds for education, health and social programs. Many individuals also participate in social gambling, such as playing card or board games for small amounts of money with friends, participating in a friendly sports betting pool or buying lottery tickets with coworkers. While social gambling may not be harmful in and of itself, it can become problematic when it is a regular habit and is no longer for recreation but to win real cash prizes.

For those with a gambling problem, accepting that there is a problem and seeking help is the first step in managing it. It is also helpful to seek treatment for any underlying mood disorders, such as depression or anxiety, which can trigger and make gambling worse. Identifying the triggers of gambling can be helpful, such as by pinpointing specific locations or times when the urge to gamble becomes strongest. For example, if you find yourself getting the urge to gamble when you are on your way home from work, try taking a different route or finding social supports at that time of day.

Another important step is to create a strong support network to help you stay on track with your recovery. This includes reaching out to family and friends who will be supportive and not enable your gambling behavior. It can also be helpful to join a peer support group, such as Gamblers Anonymous, which is based on the twelve-step program of Alcoholics Anonymous. This type of group allows you to connect with other people who have struggled with the same issues and provide support and guidance.

Lastly, it is a good idea to set limits in managing your money. This may mean asking a trusted friend or relative to look after your EFTPOS and credit cards, or setting limits on how much you can spend each week on gambling. It is also important to avoid places and times where you feel the urge to gamble, such as stopping by a casino or TAB on your way to work.