Can you help me to stop gambling?

I've been really struggling with my gambling addiction. I've found myself in serious debt. I've been borrowing money from friends just to gamble . I need help controlling these urges.
Asked by Dizzle
Answered
12/06/2021

Hello, I understand that you are having difficulty with gambling and urges to gamble that have caused negative consequences in your life.  Your question of can someone help you stop gambling, I would say yes, there is professional help, but you must ultimately be the one who is ready to make the changes necessary to combat the urges to gamble.  With proper psychoeducation, a solid support system, and learning/practicing techniques, you should be able to exercise improved self-control over these urges over time.  However, changes don't happen immediately or overnight and require dedication and some work on your end.  There is not a professional who can do the work for you, but a therapist can stand beside you and offer support and opportunities to learn.  Oftentimes, the urges to gamble have roots in a desire for instant gratification and the feeling that you get when you do win money from gambling.  The "high", the chase, or intensely pleasurable feelings you get from participating in gambling, the risk, the thrill, and sometimes the winnings are what you seek.  This is the feeling that you would potentially focus on in therapy and try to identify ways to replicate parts of it in other healthy activities.  Support is crucial.  There are Gambling Anonymous groups that focus on the 12 steps which many find helpful.  The group format with others who share your struggle can instill a feeling of belonging and help keep you accountable.  Gambling Disorder is the only addiction disorder outside of substance use disorder that has made it into the DSM V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders fifth edition).  What that indicates to clinical mental health professionals, is that this disorder should be treated in a similar treatment modality as with other addictive behaviors.  Behavior modification, emotion regulation, and healthy habits that become long-term life changes can be achieved with psychotherapy and the motivation of the individual seeking help.  Better Help is a platform where individuals do not receive diagnoses but therapists provide their expertise and non-judgmental listening ears to allow people to learn about themselves and find solutions to their problems.  So, in short, yes, gambling is something that you can be helped with.  You are brave to reach out and admit that this has become a problem in your life.  I wish you the best of luck on this journey!  

(LPC, NCC, SAC-IT)