How to Have a Healthy Relationship With Gambling


People gamble for a variety of reasons: the adrenaline rush of winning money, socialising with friends, or as an escape from stress and anxiety. But for some people, gambling can get out of control and lead to serious problems with their mental health.

If you have an unhealthy relationship with gambling, there is help available. You can get treatment, join a support group and try some self-help tips.

Problem gambling is more common than you might think. It affects people of all ages and backgrounds, and it can have a profound effect on relationships and work performance. It can also leave you in financial crisis and even lead to homelessness. Research suggests that more than half of all suicides are linked to harmful gambling. But if you’re able to stop or cut down your gambling, the benefits can be far-reaching.

Having a healthy relationship with gambling is possible, but it takes careful planning and dedication. To start with, it’s important to recognise the difference between recreational and problematic gambling. Recreational gambling is an enjoyable way to spend time and can boost your mood, but it’s not an addictive activity. Problematic gambling involves a persistent and compulsive pattern of behaviour, is difficult to control, and interferes with your daily life.

There are a number of different treatments available for gambling addiction, including cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), which teaches you to challenge your irrational beliefs around betting. These include believing you’re more likely to win than you are, that certain rituals will bring you luck and that you can recoup your losses by gambling more.

You should also consider seeking help for any underlying mood disorders you may have, as these can trigger or be made worse by compulsive gambling. These can include depression, anxiety and substance abuse. CBT can be used to address these issues, but it’s also worth looking at other forms of support and advice such as family therapy or marriage and debt counselling.

To prevent gambling from becoming a problem, you should only ever gamble with money you can afford to lose and never on credit. It’s also important to set a time limit for how long you want to play, and to leave when you reach it, regardless of whether you’re winning or losing. And don’t be tempted to chase your losses – this is called the gambler’s fallacy and it will only make you lose more.