Gambling is a form of entertainment that involves risking money or something of value for the chance to win more than you have risked. It can be a fun way to pass the time, but it can also lead to a serious problem if you’re not careful.
There are many reasons people gamble, including the adrenaline rush of winning, socialising or escaping from worries and stress. But if gambling begins to take over your life, it could be time to stop. It can be hard to give up, but there are ways you can make it easier.
The key is to be aware of the risks and understand what it means to lose money. The more you know about how to play safely, the better you can protect yourself from financial loss and keep your family safe.
Identify and address the root causes of your gambling problems. If you think your gambling is affecting your relationships, work or health, talk to a specialist about how to break the cycle.
Avoid temptation and set limits on your spending – don’t gamble if you can’t afford to lose or have a budget you can stick to. It’s also important to make a personal rule not to use credit when gambling, as it can be addictive and can put you in debt.
Get help if you’re having trouble giving up your gambling addiction – see a therapist or seek support in the form of a self-help group. The support can be as simple as sharing your experiences or as complex as joining a professional gambling support organisation and learning new skills.
Talk to someone you trust who won’t judge you – this can be a friend or a professional counsellor, or a family member. Having someone to talk to about your gambling can help you identify the triggers that drive you to gamble and give you the strength to quit.
Set short and long term goals – this will help you focus and stay on track, whether it’s to reduce your betting or to stop going to the casino altogether.
Find a healthier activity to fill the gap left by your gambling – it might be exercise, volunteering or learning a new skill. Finding a new hobby or interest can help you relax and unwind, while still offering the sense of accomplishment that comes from achievement.
Learn to cope with unpleasant emotions – you may feel lonely, bored or depressed after a stressful day at work or after an argument with your partner. By learning to relieve these feelings in a more healthy way, you can start to feel better and less likely to gamble again.
You can learn to cope with these feelings more effectively if you learn how to regulate your moods, relieve boredom and anxiety, and develop positive habits that will help you feel more balanced and in control.
The most important thing you can do if you’re having trouble giving up gambling is to be honest with yourself and your loved ones. Don’t let yourself lose your self-control or be taken advantage of, as this could end up costing you your career, relationships or your home.