Gambling is a form of risking something valuable on an event determined at least in part by chance. It includes a wide variety of activities, such as playing poker, bingo, lottery tickets, and office pools. It can also be a way for people to cope with stress and anxiety, or to try to win back money they lost.
It’s important to recognise that if you are struggling with a gambling addiction, there are treatment options available. The key is to find the one that works for you, and make sure you follow the advice provided.
Talk to a professional adviser or counsellor about your gambling, so you can understand the problem better. They can help you decide on a plan to stop and prevent your gambling from becoming an issue again.
Ensure you have a strong support network around you, including friends and family. They can give you a moral support, provide reassurance, and share experiences. It’s also helpful to join a group of people who are going through the same experience as you, such as Gamblers Anonymous.
Set time limits for yourself and stick to them. It’s often easy to lose track of how long you spend gambling, so it’s best to be clear on the length of time you want to be in the casino or betting shop.
Limit the amount of money you can bet, and don’t allow yourself to gamble on credit. It’s not a good idea to borrow money to gamble, as it’s very easy to get into debt and can be very difficult to repay.
Keep a journal about your gambling habits and how they affect you. This can help you identify triggers and behaviours that are making you vulnerable to relapse. It can also provide you with an opportunity to work out how you’ve got into the situation.
If you’re worried that a loved one may have a problem with gambling, talk to them about it. This can be difficult, but if you let them know that you’re concerned, it’s more likely they will talk openly with you.
It’s also helpful to talk about your feelings about their gambling, so you can build trust and reassure them that you understand what they’re going through. It’s also worth keeping an eye out for signs of gambling withdrawal symptoms, such as irritability or a loss of appetite.
Rekindle old hobbies that don’t involve gambling, as these can be a good distraction. These could include learning new skills, organising events, or even gardening. They can also help to boost your self-esteem and provide a regular reminder that you’re on the right path.
Don’t ignore the social impact of your gambling, as it can have an adverse effect on your family, workplace and community. It can also create financial problems and jeopardise your relationship, education or career.
Getting help for a gambling problem is not always easy, but it can be well worth the effort. There are many different kinds of treatment and rehabilitation, so it’s a good idea to explore all your options before you make a decision about what to do next.