Generally speaking, gambling addiction can be understood as a behaviour in which a person is unable to control impulses to gamble, which has major negative personal or social repercussions. Although it is frequently referred to as “the silent killer,” there is good news in that help is on the way and that managing your addiction now seems more possible than it has ever been.
The stigma associated with having a gambling addiction has diminished, and the disorder is now understood to be a serious medical condition. The first and best question you should ask yourself to address the issue is, “How do I stop the impulse to gamble?”
Here are our top 6 suggestions for quitting gambling and saving money in the process.
1. Admit You Have a Gambling Problem
Admitting that you have a problem is the first step toward rehabilitation. It’s a confession that is excruciatingly dull and overused, yet it is utterly accurate. Many people start stealing, accumulate hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, or even worse, must keep gambling in order to earn the money.
Because of this, it’s crucial to recognise that you have a problem and call yourself a “gambling addict.” The American Psychiatric Association, one of the first organisations to recognise the problem as a medical illness, has provided some suggestions on how to identify problem gambling.
Here is a short list:
- You feel the compulsive urge to gamble
- You grow irritable or anxious if you are not gambling
- Gambling “helps you” to manage your stress levels
- You have lied to friends and colleagues to continue gambling
- Your finances have been adversely impacted because of gambling
- Have struggled with quitting gambling many times now
- You are often “chasing your losses” to break even
- Your relationships have suffered as a result
Some of these may seem a little arbitrary, but they are actually quite accurate predictors of whether you are becoming problematic. The likelihood that you may develop a gambling addiction increases as more criteria are met.
Once you recognise a problem, it’s crucial to get professional help, not just family intervention or a commitment to stop.
2. Join a Support Group
You can ask a support group for help now that you are aware of the issue. Support groups are institutions run by persons with comparable histories and experiences. Support groups are free to try out in person or in internet chat rooms, notwithstanding the lack of expert interventions.
One support network created especially for those with gambling issues is Gamblers Anonymous. The organisation is built on the well-known 12-step methodology utilised by other support groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous.
You can call the National Council on Problem Gambling’s gambling helpline for more details on support groups for gamblers. They provide voice and text support for those who have gambling problems and can direct you to beneficial support groups to help you cope with the challenges of gambling addiction.
3. Consciously Fight Off Gambling Cravings
Cravings are a common feature of addictions. Strong drives to carry out the desired activity are known as cravings. As a gambler, you could experience desires to contact your bookie, visit a casino, collect your paycheck, or engage in other gambling-related actions.
When you are experiencing a severe craving, it seems as though it will never end. Despite this, it won’t. Every craving has a start, middle, and end. Therefore, you can continue recuperation as long as you can put off gambling.
Paying attention to your cravings—what they feel like, what you think about while you have them, and how long they often last—is a great strategy to deal with this problem. You might start to deprive the need of its power over you by researching it.
You might make a list of ideas or acts to divert your attention from gambling after you have a better knowledge of the problem. The greatest techniques to avoid gambling might be to deep breathe or phone a buddy when a craving strikes.
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4. Rekindle an old hobby
Gamblers inevitably lose interest in their activities as their gambling addiction worsens. It’s crucial to pick up old activities again after stopping. This will not only increase your self-confidence but also serve as a constant reminder of your new lifestyle.
It’s critical to replace destructive addiction with a more positive activity, as is the case with the majority of behavioural addictions. This can help you maintain your attention on the advantages of your new lifestyle rather than what you are giving up.
5. Think About the Consequences
Anyone in addiction recovery will experience tremendous feelings of shame and guilt. Shame and guilt can be harmful since too much of them can spur people to relapse, but in moderation, they can spur you on to continue your recovery.
To stop gambling in the future, consider the effects of your previous gambling.
- The emotional pain you caused your loved ones
- The financial hardships you put your family in
- Any lies you told to disguise your addiction from others
Avoid dwelling on past actions and only use them as inspiration to cut back on gambling in the future. Too much guilt or shame can be detrimental.
6. Remember That Gambling Addiction Can Be Cured
In the past, gambling addiction was connected to unfortunate no-goods who wasted their time and money. But in the modern world, everyone is aware that gambling addiction may be treated, or at the absolute least, managed. This means that you have no excuse for refusing to ask for assistance when you need it.
The treatments that gambling addicts receive are incredibly beneficial even if they are never intrusive. The majority of them are predicated on the notion that your “passion” for gambling can be redirected in a different, more beneficial manner.
Addiction is a disease that may be managed, and finally lessened or entirely cured, with constant supervision, self-control, and even at the cost of minor relapses. Therefore, there is a resounding yes to the question of whether gambling addiction can be treated.
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