How to Quit Gambling Addiction
Compulsive gambling, also known as gambling addiction or gambling disorder, is the uncontrollable urge to gamble even when negative consequences have taken a toll in your life. It means that you’re willing to gamble whether you’re up or down, affluent or penniless, carefree or downhearted, and you’ll continue to gamble regardless of the repercussions—even when you know that the odds are in defiance of you. Still, you can’t manage to lose.
Gambling can restore the brain’s reward system just like drugs or alcohol can do which leads to a certain kind of addiction. If you’re experiencing compulsive gambling, you may continuously run after bets that lead to losing, conceal your way of behaving, empty your savings, stockpile debts, or even resort to thieving or fraudulence just to support your addiction. In short, compulsive gambling is a serious condition that can ruin someone’s life. (1)
Did you know gambling costs UK more than £100 million a year? You can read more about it here!
Signs and Symptoms of Compulsive Gambling
Signs and symptoms of compulsive gambling include the following: (2)
- Being obsessed with gambling to the point that you relentlessly plan on how to get more money
- Demands to gamble with growing amounts of money to remain thrilled
- Failure to quit or cut back from it
- Feeling uneasy or grumpy when you try not to gamble
- Using it to break free from problems
- Chasing losses
- Deceiving family members or others to cover up the extent of your addiction
- Compromising or losing valued relationships and career because of gambling
- Turning to theft or fraud to gain some winnings
- Begging others to bail you out of monetary trouble because you gambled money away
In contrast to casual gamblers who are disciplined to stop when losing or was able to set a loss limit, people with compulsive gambling issues are driven to continue playing just to recover their money — a pattern that becomes progressively disastrous over time. (3)
Read further on the dangerous effects of gambling addiction here.
Ways on How to Quit Gambling
Gambling addiction is abominable and terribly damaging. It is important to seek some help as soon as possible because it isn’t easy to quit. Here are few strategies that you can use to put your compulsive gambling to stop and take back your life. (4)
1. Take a Break
Schedule your day in a very structured way. When you wake up in the morning, make a decision that you will not gamble and plan your day ahead. Keep your schedule busy with important things so you will not have a lot of free time to think of gambling. Prohibit yourself from entering or getting near a casino, downloading online gaming applications, or paying visits to gaming websites.
2. Find Other Hobbies
Find some other activities to replace your gambling habits. Explore other interesting hobbies like exercising, hanging out with friends, or do some cooking. Do whatever it takes to keep yourself busy. You could pick up a new, exciting hobby, like biking, climbing or running.
3. Remember How Bad It Feels to Lose
Remember the feeling when you lose a lot of money because of gambling. Sanction yourself to feel that disheartenment when you are having thoughts about gambling again.
4. Educate Yourself About Gambling Addiction
Educate yourself mainly about your specific type of gambling addiction. Find out what type of gambler you are. Find out what triggers your gambling addiction so you will know how are you going to act against it.
5. Seek Help
Seek help. Contemplate about reading a gambling addiction forum. Even if you do not join, reading other people’s stories and struggles may help you realize that you are not alone. It is uplifting that you realize that you are not the only person with this problem. Many share your plight and are also looking for answers and support from other gamblers.
6. Find a Support Group
Attend a gambler support group. Having support from other gamblers who also want to quit will be an important piece of your recovery. Just sharing about your gambling with other people who understand what you’re going through can be really helpful as it will lighten up your burden.
7. Hand Over Control of Your Money
Ask a close family member to take care of your money. If you do not have money on hand, you will be less apt to impulsively gamble. It will be hard, but it is an important step in your recovery. Also, do not allow yourself to access your ATM or your credit cards. Just keep a small amount of cash with you, so you cannot spend your money in losing.
8. Have Your Pros and Cons
Make a list about how your problem has affected your life in a negative way. Write as much as you can. Also, write about how your life will change for the better when you stop playing.
9. Make a Financial Plan
Talk to a debt counselor about your monetary debts. Ask for advice about how to relieve financial pressure and solve financial problems caused by your past loses. The financial stress that you have from gambling addiction debts can drive you back to gambling if not addressed. Financial problems are the biggest consequence of gambling. Be sure to use a non-profit debt assistance agency, and not one that is for-profit.
10. Get a Good Counselor
See a counselor that specializes in gambling addictions and talk to this person about your problem. If your gambling addiction is terrible, you will need as much assistance as you can get to help you stop gambling.
11. Get Help for Underlying Mood Disorders
Many people with a gambling problem also suffer from depression, anxiety, stress, or other substance abuse issues. These can both trigger compulsive gambling as well as make it worse.
12. Get in the Right Environment
Surround yourself with people that you trust who want to see you recover and avoid any kind of environment where you might be tempted to gamble. Remove applications similar to it from your phone and tell the casinos that you have a compulsive gambling issue and that you want them to block you from entering their vicinity because you’re trying to resolve your issues.
Now that you have made a serious commitment to solving your addiction problem, congratulations! Looking ahead your future without gambling should look brighter and more hopeful.