Dealing With a Gambling Addiction

Dealing With a Gambling Addiction


Gambling is an activity where a person wagers something of value on a random event with the aim of winning a prize. It includes games such as poker, baccarat and roulette, as well as betting on horse races or football accumulators. It also includes lotteries, instant scratch cards and raffles. It can be very addictive and is often associated with other mental health problems, such as depression or substance abuse. People who suffer from gambling addiction can also develop serious financial and personal problems that impact their family and friends, as well as the wider community.

The first step in dealing with a loved one’s gambling addiction is to recognise that they have a problem. Then it’s important to seek help and support for the both of you. This is especially true for those who have reached a point where they are putting their own finances or credit rating at risk. Some people will even go into debt or start stealing in order to gamble, which can have far-reaching consequences for themselves and their families.

In addition to seeking professional support, there are a number of self-help strategies that can be used to help people overcome their gambling addiction. For example, identifying your gambling triggers is an effective way to curb the impulse to gamble. These may be a particular group of friends, a certain route on your drive or having access to a specific device. You can then consciously avoid these situations and try to find other ways to relieve boredom or stress, such as exercising, spending time with non-gambling friends, joining a book club or adult education class, or volunteering in your community.

Another way to curb the urge to gamble is to set limits on how much money you can spend. It’s also a good idea to only gamble with disposable income and not money that you need for bills or rent. It’s a good idea to also give tips to dealers regularly, either by handing them a chip and clearly saying “This is for you,” or by placing the bet for them. This will make them more likely to treat you fairly and not tamper with your chips.

It’s also a good idea to strengthen your support network. Make new friends who don’t visit casinos or other gambling venues, and consider joining a peer support group such as Gamblers Anonymous, which follows a 12-step program similar to Alcoholics Anonymous. If underlying mental health issues are contributing to your unhealthy gambling behaviour, it’s worth seeking medical help at the same time.

Many people who use gambling as a way to cope with unpleasant emotions, such as loneliness or boredom, do so because they have a difficult time coping with the negative feelings without it. Seeking help and support for these underlying issues at the same time as addressing your gambling addiction can make it much easier to quit. In fact, it’s probably the single most important thing you can do to stop gambling.