Gambling can be a fun and exciting way to spend time, but it’s also risky. It can affect your finances, your relationships, your health and your performance at work or study. It can cause problems with the law, and it may leave you in debt or homeless. It can even harm your relationship with friends and family.
When you gamble, you’re betting on something that has chance in it – for example, a fruit machine or scratchcard. If you win, you’ll receive money. But if you lose, you’ll have to pay it back. You should expect to lose, and you should try to avoid playing when you’re under financial stress.
Think about why you gamble
When people think about gambling, they usually think about the possibility of winning money. But there are many other reasons people gamble, including to relax or relieve stress, or to socialize with friends.
If you’re having a hard time controlling your gambling, talk to someone who can help. Your doctor or a therapist can help you understand the problem and offer options for treatment. You might need counseling, medication, or support from your family and friends.
The environment you live in can also play a role in your gambling behavior. It may be more likely for you to develop harmful gambling behaviour if there are many nearby casinos, or if you see friends and family who have a gambling problem. It might also be more likely if you have a psychological disorder or condition, such as depression or anxiety.
You can postpone gambling or distract yourself when you feel an urge to gamble. You can do this by exercising, spending time with friends who don’t gamble, or practicing relaxation techniques.
Deal with your cravings
When you have a strong desire to gamble, stop and tell yourself that you will wait for 5 minutes or an hour. It might take that long, but eventually the urge will pass or your mind will start to weaken. You can then do something else that you enjoy, such as exercise or going to a movie.
Find a support group for people who have similar experiences. This is an important step in recovery. You can find support groups online and at your local substance abuse center.
Learn to cope with your emotions without gambling
If you’re feeling a lot of anxiety or tension, it might be a good idea to talk to a therapist about your problem. Then, you can learn how to manage these feelings in a healthier way.
Change your gambling habits
If your gambling has become a problem, you might need to stop it. It’s best to make a decision to quit and then follow through on that decision, but you can still use a few strategies to help you stay away from it.
Keep your losses small
The biggest challenge for problem gamblers is making a commitment to stay away from gambling and to keep the addiction from coming back. That’s why it’s important to find a support group of people who have overcome the same problem and can teach you how to keep yourself safe from gambling.