Help for Gambling Addiction

Gambling involves placing something of value, usually money, on an event with a uncertain outcome. It may include a lottery, games of chance, sports betting, horse racing, card games, dice games, and more. The activity is often illegal. It can have serious consequences for individuals and families. People who struggle with gambling addiction should seek help.

The Bible warns against participating in vice, including gambling, because it deceives the soul (1 Corinthians 6:10) and corrupts good stewardship practices. Christians are responsible before God to invest the resources entrusted to them wisely, and gambling is a waste of money. It promotes an immoral and predatory industry and causes the loss of family integrity (Matthew 25:14-30).

Many people struggle with gambling because they are impulsive and have trouble controlling their emotions. They also might have a genetic predisposition to thrill-seeking behaviour and difficulty making sound decisions, according to research on the brain and its reward system. Some people are even born with a pre-disposed chemical makeup, with low dopamine levels, which makes them more prone to impulsive behaviour and cravings.

People often gamble to escape unpleasant feelings and experiences, such as boredom or loneliness. They also use it to relieve stress, after a bad day at work or after arguing with their spouse. However, there are healthier ways to cope with negative emotions or alleviate boredom, such as exercise, spending time with friends who don’t gamble, taking up a new hobby, or practicing relaxation techniques.

Some people have a tendency to hide their gambling habit and lie about it. They might make excuses, claiming they are only playing for fun or that they are just trying to win back lost money. They might even resort to illegal acts, such as theft, fraud, or embezzlement, to fund their addiction. They may even jeopardize their relationship, career, or education opportunity in order to gamble.

It can be challenging to help a loved one struggling with gambling addiction. You should try to avoid blaming them or telling them what they “should” do. Instead, focus on setting boundaries around how they spend their money and ensuring they do not have access to credit cards or other gambling websites. You should also encourage them to seek professional help and support groups. A good place to start is with a 12-step program such as Gamblers Anonymous, which is based on the principles of Alcoholics Anonymous. This program can connect them with former gamblers who have successfully remained free from the addiction and can give them invaluable advice. It’s also important to help them find other ways to socialize and get out of the house, such as joining a book club or sports team, enrolling in a community class, or volunteering for a worthy cause. Moreover, you should encourage them to practice good stewardship by investing their money in healthy habits. It is important to remember that gambling is a risky investment with an almost certain negative return.