Gambling can be a fun and exciting way to pass time, but it can also be dangerous. It can damage your health and relationships, and leave you in debt and potentially homeless. If you or a loved one have a problem with gambling, there are things you can do to help them stop and recover.
The first step is to admit that you have a problem. It can be a huge step for some people, and it can take courage to open up about your addiction to others. You can ask for support and get treatment, or you can try self-help.
Start with a fixed amount of money you’re ready to lose.
Gambling isn’t a lucrative way to make money, so it’s important to create boundaries for yourself before you go to the casino or start betting online. You don’t need to be a millionaire to gamble, but you do need to decide how much money you can comfortably afford to lose.
Create a support network of friends and family who understand your gambling addiction and are there for you when you need them. You might also want to seek out support groups for recovering addicts, such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Gamblers Anonymous. These are 12-step programs that help people get through recovery from addiction and find the support they need to stay clean and sober.
Don’t gamble to self-soothe unpleasant feelings.
Many people who have gambling problems gamble as a way to distract themselves from negative emotions, such as depression or anger. But it’s healthier to find other ways to relieve these emotions, such as exercising or spending time with friends who don’t gamble.
Change your beliefs about gambling and the outcome of the games you play.
If you have a lot of trouble controlling your urges, consider talking to a therapist about changing the way you think about gambling and the outcomes of the games you play. This could help you overcome the addictive behavior and resolve the issues that have led to your gambling problems.
Talk to someone about your finances, including the bills you pay and your credit card balance. This will help you set boundaries and avoid taking out more money to try to recoup your losses.
It may be helpful to get rid of your gambling-related debts and close your gambling accounts, so you don’t have any more temptation to gamble. It’s also a good idea to set up automatic payments for your debts and keep only a small amount of cash on hand.
Use a mental health professional to treat your gambling disorder, or discuss it with your GP. This can include medication, therapy, and lifestyle changes. Your GP can work with you to address any underlying conditions contributing to your gambling, such as depression or bipolar disorder.
Seek professional help if you have a serious gambling problem, especially if you’re losing a lot of money or if you’re putting your life at risk. You can find a GP near you by using our directory, or you can call the UK National Gambling Helpline on 0808 801 8800.