When indulged in moderation, gambling is a fun leisure behavior with the
potential also to earn money. However, some players burrow too far down the gambling hole and become addicted. Although gambling addiction does not have the physical effects of other bad habits like alcohol and drugs dependency, it is still dangerous. The fun distraction can quickly become an unhealthy obsession with financial, social, and mental consequences.
Quitting the habit can be extremely challenging, and staying off bookies and games is a continuous task. Consider these tips if you are struggling with the addiction or gain knowledge on the topic.
Understand the Issue
It is impossible to fix what you do not understand. Take time to understand what pathological gambling is and establish whether you have the problem in the first place. The most prominent symptom of gambling addiction is the lack of impulse control, which means you gamble compulsively. Despite the situation you are in, flush or broke, you work to find a way to bet. Other symptoms of the disorder include:
● Being preoccupied with the activity even when you are not doing it;
● The urge to use bigger bets to match the thrill of past gambling sessions;
● Getting irritable and restless on the idea of quitting the habit;
● Trying to stop gambling severally and failing each time;
● Resorting to illegal means like fraud and theft for gambling funds;
● Lying to loved ones about the habit or the extent to which you practice it;
● Failing to adhere to set loss limits.
The exact cause for gambling addiction is not well-understood, but it is related to high dopamine release due to risk-taking and significant win potentials. Some risk factors do make some people more like to be problem gamblers than others. For instance, gamblers dealing with mental disorders like OCD and ADHD are more likely to fall victim to this condition than regular players. Also, those who witness the activity around them can be influenced to indulge in it and get hooked.
Steer Clear of Temptations
Identify the self-sabotage triggers that drive you to gamble and avoid them as much as you can. Remember that your urge to launch your favorite games may reduce during your clean time, but be ready for a menace to pass by temporarily and tempt you to bounce back to your old habits. While in recovery, avoid places, people, and activities that encourage such behavior. Uninstall any download casinos or gambling games or alter your usual route to avoid driving by casinos. Some changes may seem like inconveniences, but you can reintroduce a few of them back into your life further down the road to recovery.
Gambling addiction is like an intense craving that feels like it could last forever. While in the middle of one, it is essential to remember that it shall pass. Delaying the decision to indulge in the activity allows the temptation to pass and gives you time to be in more control over your mind.
Use distractions to stop thinking about gambling. Start by relaxing and staying calm. Breathe deep and slow while refocusing on something else to occupy your time. You can organize some activities that can take your mind off the urge before it hits you.
Plan Days Ahead
Many people struggle with pathological gambling due to extended periods of boredom in their lives. If your mind is not focused on doing anything particular, it will most likely wander to the activity. Plan your days so that you are not tempted to spend some free time on gambling.
Rekindle Old Hobbies or Find New Ones
When gambling, players tune their minds to get used to functioning in a specific way, which involves constant stimulation. Once you stop gambling, break out of your norm and give your brain something else to be excited about. Find new things to indulge in, such as painting, learning, and studying. It is recommended to adopt problem-solving tasks that can come in handy when dealing with gambling urges.
Gambling can also be a causal factor for losing interests in hobbies as one gets more hooked on the activity. Revisit such interests once you quit the indulgent. Practicing something you are good at will make you better and serve as a reminder of your new way of life.
Weigh the Consequences
Guilt and shame often plague people in recovery from gambling addiction, and in dangerous levels, they result in a relapse. However, some level of these intense feelings is essential to remind patients of their consequences if they do not stay on the recovery path. Gambling addiction often causes emotional pain on the self and loves ones, financial difficulties, and mistrust due to lies. Keep these factors as a reminder that the lack of discipline in your cause will result in losses only.
Find Stress-Coping Mechanisms
Many gambling addicts use casinos and other games to escape problems in the real world like depression, anxiety, and guilt. The stress caused by these issues can also contribute to relapses during your recovery. Find better ways to deal with stress, including exercise, hypnotherapy, yoga, or mediation. The lower the pressure, the less likely you are to get back to your old habits.
Rely on Loved Ones
Relations with loved ones like family and friends are also interrupted by gambling addiction. Talk to those you trust about what you are facing and take as much help as you can from them. You can have them take care of your finances until you learn to manage them properly. You can also educate them more about your triggers so that they can help you fight the urge to gamble.
Tackle your gambling addiction one day at a time without dwelling too much on past mistakes. Avoid trying to even out your losses before embarking on this journey since it will only delay your recovery. If you relapse, identify the causes and continue with your journey to recovery by learning from the experience.