Gambling can be a fun and exciting activity, but it can also be a serious problem. It can lead to negative consequences for your health and well-being, your family, and your community. Whether you’re an avid gambler or just have a flutter from time to time, there are some steps you can take to reduce your risk of addiction.
1. Make a plan to stop gambling.
To begin, set a limit on how much money you can spend on gambling and stick to it. This can help prevent you from going overboard and losing everything you have.
2. Find a treatment program to help you cope with your addiction.
If you’re a severe gambler, you may need help from an inpatient or residential treatment program. These can provide you with support from experts and give you the tools you need to overcome your problem.
3. Strengthen your support network and stay healthy.
If you have a gambling problem, it can be helpful to build a strong support network of friends and family. This can include joining a peer support group such as Gamblers Anonymous, getting a job or taking an education class, and volunteering for a good cause.
4. Learn to resist unwanted thoughts and habits
If your gambling behavior creates distress, harmful life outcomes or negative impact on your social relationships, it could be a sign of an addiction. This is called a gambling disorder and can be treated with cognitive-behavioral therapy.
5. Know when it’s time to quit.
If you’re experiencing a gambling problem, it’s crucial to recognize the signs and symptoms of withdrawal and to seek help. There are many treatments that can help you overcome your addiction, including therapy and family counseling.
6. Choose a treatment program that fits your needs and budget.
If gambling is causing you financial trouble, consider trying therapy and family counseling. These can help you learn to manage your money and deal with negative emotions.
7. Be open about your gambling habits and goals with your family members.
If your gambling habits are affecting the lives of your loved ones, it’s important to talk about them and get them involved in helping you avoid future problems.
8. Avoid gambling if you have a medical condition or are pregnant, nursing or on medication that can cause you to lose control.
The medical community is increasingly aware of the dangers of gambling and has developed strategies to help individuals who are displaying warning signs of a gambling disorder. Some of these strategies include setting a realistic goal for the amount of money you plan to gamble, keeping track of your spending, establishing a budget and sticking to it, and having an honest conversation about gambling with your doctor.
9. Know your limits
If you feel like you need help to stop gambling, don’t be afraid to ask for it. There are a number of options available to you, from inpatient or residential programs to outpatient counseling and support groups.