How to Prevent Gambling Addiction


Gambling takes many forms, including lotteries, casinos, race tracks, and sporting events. It is estimated that the total amount of money legally wagered each year is about $10 trillion (although illegal betting may far exceed this figure).

Most people gamble occasionally for pleasure and do not experience problems. However, some individuals become heavily involved in gambling and experience significant negative personal, social, work or family consequences. Some even become homeless and/or die as a result of problem gambling.

A gambling addiction is a complex issue that requires professional help to recover. The causes of a gambling addiction can vary, from a person’s genetics and environment to the type of gambling they engage in and their mental health status. In addition, a number of cognitive and motivational biases can influence how people perceive risk, control impulses, and weigh risks and rewards.

People who develop a gambling addiction can find it difficult to recognise their gambling behaviour as problematic, especially when other people in their lives support their activity. Those who are experiencing problems with their gambling can seek help from organisations that offer confidential and non-judgemental support. These services can help with identifying the factors that drive gambling and developing strategies to stop or reduce it.

For some, gambling can become a way to self-soothe unpleasant emotions or boredom and this can be dangerous. In order to prevent this, it is important to find other healthy ways of relieving these feelings such as exercise, spending time with friends who do not gamble, or learning relaxation techniques.

It is also important to avoid triggers that encourage gambling. This can be as simple as avoiding places where gambling is available (e.g., by changing the route home from work if your journey passes a casino), or changing the channel when watching sports to avoid seeing ads for gambling. In addition, it can be helpful to write down your triggers and identify any thoughts or emotions that are driving the desire to gamble.

Finally, it is important to set a limit on how much money you will gamble with and then stick to it. This will ensure that you are not gambling more than you can afford to lose and will also help you stay on track with your recovery plan if you do have a lapse.

People who gamble for longer periods of time and are more heavily involved in gambling are at a greater risk of becoming compulsive. Some signs that a person has become severely involved in gambling include: