Gambling addiction, as other addictions, starts innocently and escalates to uncontrollable levels. Whether the habit involves online gambling or casino games, it can be harmful and lead to financial and relationship ruin. Gambling addiction can turn a very honest person into someone who steals money to fund the habit. Like other addictions, gambling addiction features a lack of self-control which results in a lack of control in various other areas of a person's life. Recognising the danger signs and acknowledging the problem is the first step to healing.
Gambling addiction is an invisible disease, in the sense that there are no physical symptoms. The first sign of gambling addiction is the urge to gamble, despite the desire to quit. Most problem gamblers will deny or trivialize their addiction. However, they will often sneak around to feed their addiction, or lie about it. The condition affects their loved ones, from whom they will usually withdraw.
If you feel the need to hide your gambling habits, or lie about it, or if you want to stop gambling, but can't, you may have a gambling addiction. It's common for gamblers to want to up bets to win back their lost money, and to want to gamble even when there is no money left.
Psychotherapists offer a range of psychodynamic therapies to deal with uncontrollable, self-destructive and impulsive behaviors, including gambling addiction. Cognitive-behavioral therapy has been found to be effective in dealing with gambling addiction but therapists often use other approaches as well. The therapists in this directory use a range of different approaches, including counselling, peer support, self-help programs, and step-based programs.
If you need a counsellor or psychologist to help you address the effects of gambling addiction, you can search the directory below to find a professional with the approach best suited to your situation.