Gambling is any activity—typically a game—where you put anything of value at risk in the hopes of winning something. Both drug use and gambling activate the same reward areas in the brain. Gambling is addictive, just like drug addiction, and continuing to bet despite negative consequences is known as problem gambling. Long-term problem can turn into disordered gambling, which harms the gambler and others around them.
Online gambling is a safe and entertaining activity, but some players struggle with self-control and end up on the wrong side of the hobby.
Gambling addiction gradually manifests itself in a person, just like any other addiction. Starting innocently, sports betting can develop into a problematic gambling habit with adverse effects. Gambling addiction may strike people from all walks of life. Gambling has evolved from a harmless pastime to a dangerous practice with adverse effects.
Whether you wager on sports, scratch cards, roulette, poker, or slots at a casino, racetrack, or online, a gambling habit may harm your relationships, make it difficult for you to find employment, and cause you to lose all of your money. Even activities you never thought you’d perform, like taking on huge debts or stealing money to gamble, are possible.
Given these facts, it is clear that you want to keep playing fun and exciting games for the intended purposes without becoming addicted to them. Below are steps to avoid creating a gambling addiction in yourself or others.
Understand The Problem
You can’t mend something that you don’t understand. To eradicate gambling from your life, you must educate yourself on the matter and acknowledge that you have an addiction.
The American Psychiatric Association categorizes addictions to alcohol, drugs, and gambling as mental health problems. A gambling addiction might be present if you:
- You must wager more money in their games of chance.
- Have feelings of agitation or restlessness while not gambling
- Made many attempts to stop gambling, all in vain.
- You’ve become utterly fixated on gambling.
- Have been using gambling to relieve tension
- Gamble on more to “make up for”
- Have been lying about gambling to loved ones, coworkers, and friends
- Have strained or broken relationships due to gambling
- Need financial assistance
Be honest with yourself when you review the signs of a gambling disorder. Ask a loved one what they think of your gaming for even better insight. Stop rejecting it and start seeing the harm it has done to your life.
Do Not Be Tempted
Although gambling might be tempting, understanding that it is an addiction enables you to use relapse prevention and treatment strategies. Avoiding people, places, and gambling-related activities might help a recovering addict prevent a relapse. Avoiding these triggers may regulate the thoughts and feelings that lead to gambling.
Find a different route if seeing a casino after work makes you want to bet. If watching sports makes you want to bet, think about watching something else. Throw away your credit cards, and give your spouse control of the checkbook.
You must be aware of and avoid your triggers, just as someone with a drinking problem shouldn’t go into a bar, but how inconvenient this may appear. Consult a loved one about your list of triggers and devise methods to withstand the temptations to reduce your danger of gambling.
Join A Support Group
You can ask a support group for help now that you know the issue. Support groups are institutions run by persons with comparable histories and experiences. Despite the lack of expert interventions, support groups are free to try out in person or via internet chat rooms.
One support network created especially for those with gambling issues is Gamblers Anonymous. The organization is built on the well-known 12-step methodology utilized by other support organizations, such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous.
Call the National Council on Problem Gambling’s hotline to get more information on gambling support groups. They provide voice and text support for those with gambling problems and may direct you to beneficial support groups to help you cope with the challenges of addiction.
Postpone When You Want To Gamble
One prevalent aspect of addictions is cravings. “Cravings” refers to strong urges to engage in the desired activity. As a gambler, you could feel the want to talk to your bookie, go to a casino, be paid, or take part in other gambling-related activities.
When you are in serious need, it feels like it never ends. Nevertheless, it won’t. Each desire has a beginning, middle, and end. Therefore, if you can quit gambling, you may continue your healing.
Knowing your cravings, how they make you feel, what you think about when you have them, and how long they generally last is a great way to cope with this issue. By learning more about the urge, you might be able to start overcoming it.
When you are more familiar with the situation, you may come up with a list of alternatives to gambling. When a gambling urge hits, deep breathing or calling a friend are the best ways to squelch it.
Seek Gambling Addiction Help
If your problem is significant, you should think about seeking professional addiction help as soon as you can. Receiving expert therapy from a mental health or addiction specialist may mean choosing between a life of financial security and uncertainty.
Professional treatment methods can educate you on how to stop gambling while also helping you enhance your current skills. Your hesitancy is the only thing keeping you from obtaining professional counseling or therapy. Even better, you may receive professional aid while attending a support group.
If you have a substance use problem in addition to your gambling addiction, speak with a doctor and seek help. Your life can substantially improve with only one phone call.
Talking therapy and counseling might assist you in mending any past emotional scars impeding your progress. Building trust and rapport with a therapist may assist in identifying unique personal vulnerabilities to relapse and hidden triggers and devising a strategy for effectively maintaining your recovery.