Gambling can be an enjoyable pastime, but it also has the potential to become a problem if you don’t use sound strategies. It can be easy to fall into a cycle of gambling more and more frequently and to lose a lot of money, so it’s important to stop before it becomes a serious problem.
Identify your triggers
It’s essential to avoid situations or events that can make you want to gamble. For example, if you have to drive past a casino, take an alternate route or change the channel on the TV so that you don’t watch a sporting event. If you find yourself getting tempted to deposit large amounts of cash at sportsbook apps on your phone, try distracting yourself by talking to friends or doing something else.
Challenge negative thinking patterns and emotions
Some people who are prone to gambling problems have poor thought habits, such as irrational beliefs, the illusion of control, and the gambler’s fallacy. These negative thoughts can lead to increased compulsive behavior, so it’s important to recognize and challenge these unhealthy patterns.
Stress management techniques are also helpful for coping with stress and staying away from gambling. These include meditation, yoga, reading and writing, taking long walks, starting a hobby or exercise, and other self-care activities.
Changing the way you think about gambling may help you change the way you behave, because it will make you less likely to want to gamble. In addition, it can help you feel more positive about life and improve your well-being.
Seek professional help when you need it
Fortunately, there are many professionals that specialize in addiction and mental health treatment. These individuals can help you recognize your gambling problem, identify the reasons behind it and develop a plan for recovery. They can also provide you with support and guidance to prevent relapse.
Ask for help from friends and family
A support network can be critical in battling any addiction, including gambling. It can be especially helpful for those who have a loved one who is struggling with an addiction to gambling. By sharing your experiences and gaining the support of others who have been where you are, you can build resilience and learn to cope with addiction better.
Join a support group
There are many types of support groups for people with addictions. These can be in-person or online, and they are usually based on the 12-step model used by groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous. Some of them even feature a sponsor, someone who is a former gambler and has experience in staying free from addiction.
Get help from a mental health or addiction specialist
If you need assistance in stopping your gambling habit, talk to a professional about what options are available for you. There are a variety of treatments, including behavioral therapy and medication. A therapist can also recommend resources to help you find a support network and strengthen your resolve.
Rewire your brain
A key to combating gambling addiction is rewiring your brain. It’s believed that gambling changes the structure of the brain in two key areas, which are similar to regions involved in substance abuse and other addictions.