Counseling For Gambling Addiction

Gambling is the wagering of something of value on an uncertain event with the intention of winning something else of value. In addition, gambling requires three elements: consideration, risk, and a prize. It ranges from the purchase of lottery tickets, to betting on horse races or football accumulators, to sophisticated casino gambling. Whether legal or illegal, it can impoverish families and individuals, lead to blackmail and other criminal activities, and be associated with organised crime. Despite the risk involved, many people continue to gamble.

The psychological motivation to gamble is often complex. People can be driven by desire for a win, to achieve a sense of mastery, or simply to relieve boredom. Gambling can also become addictive, especially if it is combined with other mood disorders such as depression or stress. Regardless of the reason, it is essential to seek help for a problem gambling habit.

Counseling can provide an opportunity to discuss how gambling affects a person and their family. It can also provide an opportunity to explore alternatives and solve problems. There are no medications approved by the FDA for treating gambling addiction, but some may help manage underlying mood conditions that contribute to gambling behaviors. Behavioral therapy can teach a person how to resist unwanted thoughts and habits, while cognitive-behavior therapies can help a person identify and confront irrational beliefs such as the notion that a streak of losses is “meant to be.”

Other forms of therapy include group or individual support groups, family therapy, and marriage or career counseling. These can help a family deal with specific issues created by gambling and lay the foundation for healthy functioning in the future. For students, AcademicLiveCare is a free online platform that allows CU Boulder students, staff and faculty to schedule virtual psychiatry or counseling appointments at any time.

It is also important to limit the amount of money a person can spend on gambling. One way to do this is to set a budget for gambling. Another is to put a certain amount of money into an envelope each day and not allow it to be spent on anything other than gambling. Keeping track of time is another good idea, as it can be easy to lose track of how long you have been playing. Also, never chase your losses; the more you try to win back your losses, the bigger your losses will be.