Ten years ago, the idea that someone could become hooked on a habit like gambling the way they can get hooked on a drug was controversial. But researchers now agree that in some cases, gambling can be a real addiction.
In fact, there are now enough gamblers with serious problems that casinos around the world are training their employees to watch out for them, urging them to voluntarily ban themselves and prominently displaying brochures about Gamblers Anonymous and other treatment options near ATM machines and pay phones. But a big problem is that many people who gamble never seek help, and those who do often return to the tables.
It takes enormous strength and courage to admit that you have a gambling problem, especially if it has cost you a lot of money or strained or broken relationships. But the first step to recovery is acknowledging that you have a problem.
The next step is to seek counseling. Cognitive-behavior therapy teaches you to think differently about your problem gambling and how it affects your life. It can also teach you to resist impulses to gamble, and it can help you find healthier ways to relieve unpleasant emotions, such as exercising, spending time with friends who don’t gamble and practicing relaxation techniques. And it can help you repair your relationships and finances. Depending on your situation, you may also need family therapy or marriage, career and credit counseling. Getting matched with a professional, licensed therapist is easy and fast.