Gambling can be a great way to relax, but it can also have negative consequences. It can lead to problems in relationships, poor performance at work or study, and even to debt and homelessness. The good news is that you can learn to control gambling and rebuild your life.
What is gambling?
Gambling is any activity where you risk money or something of value to try and win a prize. This could be in a casino, sports betting, scratch cards, or even online gambling. The amount you can win depends on the game and the odds.
How to stop gambling:
If you’re feeling the urge to gamble, postpone it. Talk to a friend, call your bank, or find something else to do instead. This may help to distract you and delay the temptation until later. If you’re still feeling the urge, do a relaxation exercise or do some other mental activity to relieve the craving.
If gambling is starting to cause you problems, seek treatment. Your doctor or a therapist can help you identify the problem and offer treatment options. This could include therapy, medications, and lifestyle changes to help you manage your gambling.
Overcoming a gambling addiction is a difficult process, but it can be done. A support network of friends and family is helpful, as well as attending a 12-step recovery program like Gamblers Anonymous.
Your reasons for gambling:
Many people gamble because they want to feel a sense of euphoria or a sense of social reward. They may be looking for a thrill, or they may be trying to solve a problem that they haven’t been able to resolve with other means.
The risks of gambling:
Gambling can be addictive and have harmful effects on your physical and mental health, your relationships, your finances, your work or study performance, and your relationship with the law. It can also make it difficult for you to cope with everyday life, which can impact your relationships and cause you to become depressed or suicidal.
If you start to experience relapse, it’s important to get help right away. Depending on the severity of your problem, you might need to see a therapist or attend a rehab center. You might also need to address underlying mood disorders such as depression, stress, or substance abuse that can trigger your gambling habit.
Adolescents and gambling:
Teenagers can also have a gambling problem, especially if they’re already struggling with other issues such as depression or anxiety. There’s a growing body of research that suggests adolescents who engage in problem gambling have a higher risk of developing other types of behavioral and emotional problems in the future.
The risk of problem gambling is particularly high among teenagers, who are vulnerable to impulsive decisions and low self-esteem. Moreover, they have less ability to resist the temptation of gambling than older people.
What to do if you’re worried about someone you love:
If you think that your loved one is gambling too much or is having a hard time controlling their gambling, contact your local or national helpline and get them the help they need. You might also be able to refer them to an alcohol or drug rehabilitation centre.