Treatment For Gambling Disorder

Gambling is the practice of wagering something of value, usually money, on an event that involves chance. It can be as simple as betting on a horse race, as complex as a casino game or as abstract as playing video games that require micro-transactions and payments. It’s an activity that’s prone to addiction, and it can have devastating consequences on mental health.

Psychiatrists have recently changed the way they treat people with gambling problems, moving away from an emphasis on behavioural control and into a more biological perspective. The decision reflects new research into the brain circuitry that underlies compulsive behaviour, such as eating, drinking and gambling. The new approach will have profound implications for how psychiatrists help people who cannot control their behaviour, including those who struggle with gambling disorder.

People gamble for a number of reasons: they enjoy the thrill of winning, want to socialise, need to escape worries or stress and find it difficult to self-soothe unpleasant emotions in healthier ways. Gambling can have serious health and psychological consequences, harm relationships, affect performance at work or school and lead to debt and homelessness. It is estimated that there are more than 400 suicides each year that may be related to problem gambling.

There are a few key things that can help you stop or reduce your gambling. One is to avoid high-risk situations – getting rid of credit cards, limiting access to your bank account or other financial resources, having someone else manage your money and keeping a limited amount of cash on you. Another is to talk about it – sharing your experiences with someone who understands can make you feel less alone and help you overcome your problems. It’s also important to build up your support network, find new hobbies and try coping strategies.

The most common treatment for gambling disorder is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) – a form of psychotherapy that helps you examine and challenge negative thoughts and beliefs about yourself, others and the world around you. This can help you change harmful habits and behaviors, and it is often used in combination with other therapies.

CBT for gambling disorder can be especially effective if it’s delivered by a trained professional who has experience working with this condition. Inpatient or residential treatment and rehab programs are also available for those with severe gambling disorders, which can be treated effectively in a safe and supportive environment. These programs typically involve a combination of individual and group therapy, along with family therapy. In addition, medication is sometimes used as part of the treatment plan for gambling disorders. It’s important to note that recovery from any addiction takes time and it’s normal to have slip-ups from time to time. However, if your slip-ups start to interfere with your daily life or if you think you have a gambling disorder, seek help immediately. The earlier the intervention, the better your chances of a full recovery.