How to Prevent a Gambling Addiction

Judi Online

Whether it’s playing video games, socialising at casinos or betting on football accumulators, gambling is about risking something valuable for the chance to win. While it may not be a big deal for some, compulsive gambling can be harmful. For some, it can turn into an addiction and create financial, family and relationship problems. This article explores why and how people get addicted to gambling, the dangers involved and what you can do to prevent it.

While some forms of gambling are more addictive than others, there is no one form of gambling that is inherently dangerous. Instead, the addiction is more related to the behaviour of the individual and how they react to it. For example, some people are more susceptible to the dopamine reward that is released when you experience a good outcome or win. This can trigger cravings for more and more. Other factors that may contribute to a gambling addiction include an early big win, boredom susceptibility, the illusion of control, impulsivity, the use of escape coping and stressful life experiences.

Gambling can be fun and exciting, but it’s important to know your limits. Never gamble with more money than you can afford to lose and avoid chasing your losses. For example, if you have lost a bet and are thinking ‘maybe I’ll win back all of my losses this time’, stop immediately. This is known as the gambler’s fallacy and it’s a common trap that can lead to serious financial problems.

It’s also a good idea to reduce financial risks by not carrying large amounts of cash and only using credit cards when necessary. Make a budget and stick to it. Don’t use gambling as a way to socialise, and find other ways to have a good time such as taking up a hobby or going on holiday. It’s also helpful to talk about your gambling with someone you trust, such as a family member or a counsellor.

It is possible to recover from a gambling addiction, although it can take some time. There are a number of different treatments available including cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), which is a type of therapy that can help you learn to resist unwanted thoughts and habits. This can help you to confront irrational beliefs such as believing that a streak of wins is due or that a certain ritual will bring you luck. CBT can also help you to address any underlying mood disorders such as depression or anxiety, which are linked to gambling problems. You can also seek help from debt charities such as StepChange for free and confidential debt advice. You can also try self-help tips such as setting goals and seeking support from family, friends and a professional counsellor. For more information see the Better Health Channel fact sheet ‘Gambling – financial issues’. If you think that you have a problem with gambling, seek help from your GP or see the Royal College of Psychiatrists website for details.

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