How to Get Over Gambling Guilt

You log into your online sports betting account to fill its ticket with wagers, which used to be a fairly exciting time. But lately, the experience is marked by a feeling of having done wrong. You feel…guilty. The emotional discomfort is fairly common for a number of individuals in your position.

What is gambler’s guilt? It’s a feeling of remorse that habitual and compulsive gamblers may feel either because of their inability to abstain, or due to specific outcomes/symptoms of the habit, but more often both. It’s critical to face this feeling because if left unchecked, it can lead to further despair and even suicidal ideation, the latter of which is prevalent in those who suffer from gambling disorder.

How to get over gambling guilt? The path forward begins with a look at why you experience these feelings of remorse, followed by the requisite call to action. Please keep reading.

Why You May Experience Feelings of Guilt and Regret During and After Gambling (and what you can do about it)

Guilt Over Lack of Self Control

It’s easy to understand the occurrence of a negative emotion such as guilt when someone experiences gambling losses. However, even those on a winning streak (which won’t last) can feel guilt, which is what may have you puzzled. The cause of this guilt is generally rooted in the shame of not being able to abstain or even take a break (via self-exclusion tools) from sports betting and/or casino gaming. A loss of self-control can greatly diminish your sense of self-worth, creating a vicious cycle of emotion that has made gambling not as fun as it used to be. Please note that an inability to abstain from gambling for a few days or a couple of weeks is a sign of a problematic relationship with gambling.

Guilt Over Gambling Debt

The fact that nearly 50% of gamblers have wagered more than they could afford paints a fairly clear picture. If someone does something that they shouldn’t do (i.e. take financial risks beyond their means) guilt is sure to ensue. Things get a whole lot worse when debt enters the equation. It’s one thing to join the 20% of American male sports bettors who are in debt from the activity and to add to the average debt load of $55-90K, but another when the debt impacts others in your life. This is where feelings of shame and remorse ramp up. If your parent, companion, spouse, children, or business partner (as applicable) is placed at financial risk because of your inability to put a cap on gambling, feelings of guilt are an inevitable conclusion. This leads us to the next concern.

Guilt Over Damage to Others

Debt is just one symptom of problem gambling that affects others in your life and subsequently leads to feeling guilty. There are others that typically contribute, including the following:

  • Neglecting those who are close to you, to gamble.
  • Lying to family or friends to hide the extent of gambling.
  • Lashing out in anger when friends and family express concern about your gambling (view more).
  • Being verbally or physically abuse abusive to friends and family due to increased irritability and loss of self control that comes with problem gambling.
  • Failing to follow through on projects at work that impact the business, due to your hyper-focus on gambling.
  • Resorting to criminality to cover debt and support the habit.

If you exhibit any of the behaviors above there is little wonder as to why you feel shame.

Cooccurring Mental and Behavioral Health Concerns

Gambling may not be the direct or only causation of your emotional state of guilt. It may instead contribute to feelings of shame associated with mental and behavioral disorders that cooccur with problem gambling. Strong feelings of guilt are observed in people who struggle with anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, PTSD, and alcohol/substance abuse disorders, all of which cooccur with gambling disorder.

“It’s common to feel embarrassed, humiliated, ashamed, even worthless. There’s often regret, sharpened by fear that you’ve alienated people in your life. Realizing that you’ve caused hurt and hardship—a major wellspring of guilt—only compounds the pain.”

University of Michigan | Bipolar Research Program

If you have been diagnosed with, or may exhibit signs of these disorder, professional intervention is absolutely required. Please read ahead.

What to Do to Get Over the Guilt Today

Now that we’ve covered the varying causations and contributing factors of gambling related remorse, we can now answer your initial query. How to get over gambling guilt? Speak to a specialized counsellor right away. Kindbridge Behavioral Health is America’s leading counseling resource for problem gambling treatment. We help those who exhibit mildly or moderately concerning behavior (early intervention is critical) all they way through to those who have hit their proverbial rock bottom.

Reach out via the contacts provided below to speak to a Kindbridge care coordinator.

Overcome Gambling Related Guilt Today

CALL +1 (877) 426-4258


Email [email protected]

How to Get Over Gambling Guilt