Ever felt you were pulling that slot lever without being able to stop? The thrill and rush that used to come with every hand played don’t seem to be around anymore, all the while your bank account is getting thinner? Then, it is high time some alarms were raised, and you realized you had a gambling addiction!
Gambling addiction has been categorized as one of the most serious of mental disorders, with medical institutions, such as American Psychiatric Association, urging prompt action against the condition since more and more punters are going over the edge. It seems it is getting ever more complicated to differentiate between occasional gambling and compulsory one, and people of all ages and positions are getting ensnared remarkably fast.
If you have started noticing that a day doesn’t go by if you don’t engage in some gambling activity that you can’t stop thinking about, you are in for an unpleasant surprise. You might have a gambling addiction.
However, don’t fret. You are not alone. You are not beyond help. There are ways and mechanisms that will help you cope with the issue and ultimately prevail and emerge a winner.
In this article, we are going to share six useful ways to help you overcome gambling addiction, and these include:
- Admit You Have a Problem and Tackle It
- Use the Gambling Limitation Tools
- Confide in Someone with Gambling Addiction
- Find Alternatives for Gambling
- Avoid and Contain Urges by Changing the Routine
- Seek Professional Medical Help
Admit You Have a Problem and Tackle It
No matter how corny the previous line might sound, it is an undeniable essence of fixing your gambling addiction — to admit to yourself and others that you have a problem. Without you realizing you have a problem, you won’t be able even to begin fixing it, and you will be trapped in a whirl of denial that can only lead to the deterioration of your state.
Of course, it is easier said than done, but it is far from impossible. Most people would never admit to themselves that the problem is real. They consider themselves mentally stronger than the majority and firmly believe that they can rein in on their gambling urges. Unfortunately, that is not something that most people are capable of, and that is not the way to go.
The road to a solution starts with you knowing that this is not your everyday adversary. You need to understand gambling addiction and what it can do to your life, marriage, business, finances, and pretty much everyone around you. Then, and only then, can you embark on the journey to salvation from the clutches of gambling addiction.
Use the Gambling Limitation Tools
With the rising concern of what gambling addiction can do to people of all ages, governments and many of their agencies are trying to find solutions and useful tools that will help people combat this addiction. These tools need to be efficient for every form of gambling out there, both online and offline, as well as suitable for the use of younger and older generations. Nowadays, it is acknowledged that there is a rise in problem gamblers among younger generations, and this trend won’t abate any time soon.
Furthermore, the rise in online gambling activity is seen as the biggest threat, so it is only logical that these gambling limitations tools should be those that impede further online gambling.
One such tool is Gamstop. Gamstop is a self-exclusion program controlled by the UKGC that aims at helping people put a stop to their online gambling activities.
All online gaming sites licensed and regulated by the UKGC would soon become a part of it and help gambling addicts by banning them access to their games. With Gamstop, players can choose their self-exclusion periods of up to 5 years. During that time, they won’t be able to register accounts, make payments, and play any of the games.
Confide in Someone with Gambling Addiction
On this perilous road, you need all the help you can get, and setting the gambling limits might not be enough. It is crucial that you confide in someone you trust and whose judgment you find inspiring and trustworthy. It might be the most beneficial at this point to talk to someone who is going or has gone through the same ordeal, preferably successfully.
This way, you will reaffirm the belief that you are not alone in this, and that you can succeed. People with gambling addiction history are usually open about it with fellow gamblers and will gladly share their insights and give you practical advice, or connect you with gamblers anonymous and similar groups where you can get the much-needed support.
Find Alternatives for Gambling
Changing your lifestyle is invaluable in overcoming your gambling addiction. More often than not, if you make some changes in your lifestyle by starting a new hobby or getting back to the one you neglected by starting to gamble, you can avoid and stave off the gambling compulsion.
If you replace gambling-inducing behavior, you can shift the focus from it to more salubrious activities such as meditation, physical activities (running, exercising, swimming), spending more time with people who have never gambled and don’t have anything to do with it so you won’t get tempted to talk about it all.
You can soon realize that all the money you would typically spend gambling can now be used for other more beneficial purposes and can help you mend the relationships with your family members by traveling together and doing all the fun activities you couldn’t because you were gambling that much.
Avoid and Contain Urges by Changing the Routine
Many of the former gambling addicts would shout out and take this as the creed of battling addiction, and that is changing your routine to avoid all the urges. For someone who is going through the process of recovery and fears going into relapse, avoiding places he/she associates with gambling is the key. The easiest way to do it is to change your daily routine.
If you happen to drive back from work on a route that passes by several casinos or sportsbooks, then change your route. Take the long road home but get there without having to be tempted all the way.
Also, if you are the person in charge of household finances, leave that to your partner or any other person at home. This way, you won’t get tempted to go on a gambling spree and spend all the money on your checkbook.
Furthermore, avoid spending time with people who are in the habit of gambling. Although they might not have a problem with gambling, they don’t know how they trigger the irascible gambling behavior in you because just the mere thought of them might make you want to gamble yourself, and that would just ruin the entire progress.
Seek Professional Medical Help
It is essential to know that a person who has a gambling problem can always go to a doctor for help. Psychotherapists have a way of getting to the bottom of the problem and give you the answer to why you are gambling in the first place.
Also, compulsory gambling can often be the result of different psychological illnesses and might even cause depression, anxiety, and self-harming tendencies. With these conditions present, doctors can prescribe medication to alleviate the anxiety and depression that result from gambling and are often connected to such a state. If you are going through the entire process, you will need all the help you can get, so don’t hesitate to involve the medical one.
Although gambling is an exciting activity, it is best that you always keep a tab on it and how much you spend doing it. If it becomes a problem, it will take a massive toll on both your physical and mental health.
Even if that happens, you should always know that there are ways to deal with it and that you can quit with the help of your loved ones and your strong will.
Have you ever experienced gambling issues? Do you know anyone in your surroundings who has? If you do, by all means, share it with us in the comments below, we would love to hear about your experiences.