Gambling is the risking of money or other valuables for the chance of winning a prize. This can take the form of gambling on scratchcards or fruit machines, betting with friends, or placing a bet in a casino. If you win, you receive a prize; if you lose, you will not.
Most people gamble for entertainment and to unwind from a stressful day, but it can also lead to more serious problems such as debt. If you think you may have a gambling problem, talk to a StepChange counsellor.
If you have a gambling problem, it is important to seek help as soon as possible. You should seek support if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:
Depression, stress or substance abuse can all contribute to problem gambling and can make it harder to quit. You should also seek treatment for any underlying mental health issues that might be causing your gambling problems, such as anxiety or a mood disorder.
Reducing your risk of having a gambling problem can be done by setting limits on the amount and time you spend gambling. This will ensure you don’t go over your budget and you can keep a track of how much you spend and when.
When you start to feel like you are gambling too much, or it is taking over your life, it’s time to stop. This is a big step and will be difficult but you will be more likely to stay away from gambling if you make the effort.
Don’t get sucked into being superstitious about gambling online as it’s completely random and there’s no way to control the outcome. Often it can be hard to tell when you’re getting out of hand but don’t be afraid to ask for help.
There are many ways to stop gambling before you lose everything. Set a gambling budget and stick to it, don’t spend more than you can afford to lose and always leave when you reach your limits.
You should also make sure to keep a positive attitude when gambling. Try not to lose hope and be grateful for the small wins you receive while you’re gambling.
The best way to avoid a gambling addiction is to avoid tempting environments, websites and people that encourage you to gamble. It is also important to take the time to find healthier activities that can replace gambling in your life.
Medications for addiction are an effective treatment option for problem gambling. Opioid antagonists such as naltrexone block the production of dopamine in the brain, reducing cravings and improving impulse control.
Cognitive-behaviour therapy (CBT) is another type of treatment that can be helpful. CBT teaches you to recognize and resist the thoughts that trigger you to gamble, and it can teach you healthier ways of coping with unwanted emotions.
Some therapists may prescribe antidepressants to help with underlying mood disorders that might be triggering your gambling problems. This will help to reduce your feelings of depression, stress or anxiety and it will also help you manage your gambling in a healthier manner.