How to Stop Gambling


Gambling involves risking something of value — such as money, prizes or services — on an event with a random outcome. It can be done in many ways, including buying lottery tickets, playing video poker or slot machines, betting with friends or even playing a game of chance at home. The gambler is hoping that they will win something of greater value than what they have invested, but the odds are usually against them.

Humans are biologically wired to seek rewards. When we eat a delicious meal or spend time with loved ones, our body releases the hormone dopamine, which gives us pleasure. But when a person is under stress, or has a mental health condition like depression or anxiety, they may feel the urge to seek that dopamine release through unhealthy behaviors like gambling.

Problem gambling can be difficult to admit and treat. It can also impact relationships, careers and finances. But there are steps that can be taken to help. The first step is acknowledging that you have a problem. The next is getting professional help and addressing any other mental health issues that may be contributing to the behavior.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration doesn’t approve any medications to treat gambling disorder, but psychotherapy can be helpful. Psychotherapy includes a variety of treatments that focus on helping you identify and change unhealthy emotions, thoughts and behaviors. It can take place in individual sessions with a trained mental health professional, in group therapy or family therapy.