Disclaimer: The information below should not be used as a substitute for expert advice but as a supplement to professional advice. If you have a chronic problem, please visit a certified expert to help you deal with the problem!
Whether it is a betting addiction or others like poker, a gambling issue can make your relationships challenging, cause financial problems and affect your work. In extreme cases, you may even find yourself stealing cash to gamble.
A gambling problem or addiction can happen even when you think you are in control. If you find yourself spending a lot of money and time on gambling and you keep on gambling and getting losses despite getting severe consequences, you have a gambling addiction problem.
Compulsive gambling is a bad habit that can destroy your life.
Your efforts might seem powerless when you are trying to stop gambling addiction. However, there are many things you need to do to overcome the issue, amend your relationships, finances and get your life back in order.
What are the signs of gambling addiction?
Gambling addiction may be difficult to detect in the initial stages since you will not see any physical signs, unlike drug and substance abuse. To make matters worse, most gamblers deny that they have a problem.
Nonetheless, if you have some or all of the following signs and symptoms, then you may have a gambling problem:
- When you start being a secretive gambler – You may gamble secretly or lie about your gambling life, thinking that other people won’t understand you.
- When you can’t control your gambling – When you begin to gamble, and you feel you can’t walk away. Are you forced to gamble until you spend all your money hoping to win your lost cash back?
- You try gambling even when you don’t have money – When you gamble all your money until you have no money left – when you find yourself using money meant for other things like paying bills or paying fees to gamble; then you have a gambling addiction problem. Some individuals are pushed to steal or borrow extra cash for gambling.
- When people start being worried – You need to listen carefully when your family or friends become worried about your gambling/betting activities. Don’t feel weak or be reluctant to seek help.
How to beat gambling addiction
Here are some practical steps and tips to help you develop responsible gambling habits:
#1. Understand the issue
You may never fix your problem if you don’t understand it. The first step to solving your gambling addiction and removing it from your life is admitting you have the problem.
Gambling is often compared to drug and alcohol addictions because a gambling addict will exhibit the signs discussed above among others like feeling irritable when not gambling, gambling to manage stress, or gambling away a large amount of money.
It would be best to be honest with yourself when you notice any sign of a gambling problem. You can even ask your family or friends to give you an opinion to help you understand. Once you overcame any form of denial, you’ll have made the first step toward recovery.
#2. Join a support group
After realizing the problem, you need to get assistance from specific support groups. These support groups include organizations that are maintained by individuals who have similar past, or equal experiences.
Support teams may lack professionalism, although they are free to try either online or in person.
#3. Avoid temptation
If you are in a recovery period, you need to avoid certain people, activities, and places that can cause a relapse. When you keep yourself away from these triggers, your feelings and thoughts won’t encourage gambling.
So if watching sports or driving to a casino makes you have betting problems, you need to start watching other things and have an accountable person to run your checkbook.
It may feel inconvenient at first, though just as an individual with a drinking problem needs to avoid a bar, you also need to identify your triggers and avoid them.
#4. Postpone gambling
Most addictions seem to have cravings. Cravings are serious urges to fulfill the desired behavior. A gambler can have cravings for going to the casino, calling their bookie, cash their paycheck, and much more linked to gambling.
Cravings can be very intense; you may feel like they will last forever, but they won’t. You can maintain your recovery by postponing your gambling.
Pay attention to all your craving details, like how it feels and how long it lasts? You will begin to minimize the way cravings may control you.
When you understand your situation, you need to list all your actions and thoughts from gambling. Having an accountable friend is an excellent way to postpone gambling
#5. Find alternatives to gambling
When you deal with your cravings and eliminate the triggers, you need to get a healthy and positive alternative activity to gambling. Such behaviors will help to improve your life. You will also be able to take control of your behaviors.
Here are a few alternative activities you can consider:
- Physical activity
- Spending time with family and friends
- Reading books and comics
If you feel even slightly overwhelmed by your gambling addiction, it would be wise to seek professional help as soon as possible.
However, if you practice all the steps listed above, you will be heading in the right direction in your quest to beat gambling addiction. The endgame should be to get your financial life in order by focusing your spending on things that matter.