How Does Shame Impact Recovering Problem Gamblers?

Problem gamblers have complex emotions that they need to navigate on their road to recovery. As a result, the recovery process is often challenging, with unforeseen hurdles impeding their progress. Throughout their journey, feelings of guilt and shame can complicate their efforts and lead to a wide range of negative impacts, including potential relapses. 

Answering the question “how does shame impact recovering problem gamblers” is often more nuanced than you anticipated. However, understanding how these negative emotions affect your recovery journey and learning new ways to combat them will help ensure sustained recovery.  

Why Do Problem Gamblers Feel Guilt and Shame?

For people recovering from a gambling problem, there are often complex emotions at war in their minds at a given time. Two of the most common emotions you feel are intrinsically tied together, and those are guilt and shame. These feelings can wreak havoc on your psyche and make you feel more depressed and anxious about yourself. 

You feel guilt for your actions while regularly engaging in problem gambling. Shame comes into the picture when you think about the future and don’t think you’re worthy of redemption. Shame fuels your personal view of yourself as flawed, dysfunctional, and incapable of being forgiven. These feelings can become increasingly intense and make committing to your ongoing recovery difficult. 

An inability to appropriately deal with these emotions can make your mind less comfortable and make you more susceptible to a relapse. Therefore, problem gamblers looking to make a positive impact and change their way of thinking need new coping mechanisms they can rely on in the face of these emotions. 

Understanding Where Guilt and Shame Stem From

Understanding where these feelings come from and your ability to separate them from each other will help you better understand them in the long run. Dealing with these emotions involves identifying their underlying causes and addressing them head-on. You can change your perception of these feelings and develop alternative coping strategies to help you maintain your recovery. 

For problem gamblers, guilt and shame often stem from your gambling choices — not the outcome of the bets themselves but the consequences of your actions on your loved ones and other responsibilities. These feelings can prove quite strong, and if we rely on previous coping mechanisms to deal with them, we are more likely to fall back into poor habits. 

Developing New Strategies to Deal With Guilt and Shame

Many problem gamblers reach out to mental health professionals for assistance and therapy for their ongoing problem gambling recovery. Working with a trained professional can help them work through their sports gambling problem in Freehold, NJ, and develop new coping strategies. Some of these techniques include the following:

  • Separating shame from guilt
  • Challenge existing thinking patterns
  • Create pride
  • Practice self-acceptance and forgiveness

Dealing with a gambling problem alone can feel overwhelming, but getting the support you need will help set you up for long-term success. 

Contact 800-GAMBLER for Help With Your Gambling Problem

Guilt and shame can prove intimately challenging for problem gamblers looking to turn the corner in their recovery. However, understanding how these feelings affect your journey can help you avoid common pitfalls associated with this lifelong process and help you better understand how these feelings can affect your physical and mental health. 

If you or someone you love has a gambling problem, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our confidential 24/7 hotline. We can help you with your gambling urges and find a treatment program that’s right for you. 


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