How to Stop Gambling
Gambling is an activity that involves putting something of value at risk on the outcome of a game, a contest, or an uncertain event. This could be placing a bet on a football match, playing a scratchcard or betting on the results of a lottery.
Although gambling is an enjoyable way to spend time, it can also cause harm. It can affect your health and relationships, performance at work or study, leave you in serious debt, or even cause homelessness.
It’s important to understand why you gamble and to stop if it is causing harm to yourself or others. This will help you avoid becoming a problem gambler.
If you’re concerned about how your gambling is impacting your life, talk to your doctor and ask for advice on getting support. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is usually recommended to help you change your thoughts and behaviour around gambling.
Set limits on how much money and time you can spend on gambling. This will make sure that you only play with what you can afford to lose and that you don’t chase your losses.
Invest in a good support network. This can include family, friends and colleagues, as well as a local support group or a professional treatment service. This will ensure that you have a range of resources to help you stay safe and healthy and to prevent gambling from negatively impacting on your life.
Get help if you’re worried about your gambling or if it’s affecting your relationship with your partner. You can speak to a trained counsellor for advice or contact the Gambling Helpline.
Learn to deal with unpleasant emotions in healthier ways instead of gambling. This might mean learning how to deal with stress or anxiety. It might also mean taking up new hobbies or practicing relaxation techniques.
Strengthen your support network by talking to friends and family about your gambling problems. This will help you to realise that other people have similar experiences and can offer practical support.
Join a peer support group and find a sponsor. This will help you to build your support network and learn from other people who have overcome their gambling addiction.
Take up a new hobby or activity that doesn’t involve gambling, such as volunteering or working with children. This will help you to socialise in a different way and make you feel better about yourself.
You can also talk to someone about your finances and ask them to help you set up a budget so that you can be more aware of how much money you spend on gambling. This can help you to stop spending so much on gambling and start saving more.
If you are a friend or family member of a person who is a problem gambler, you need to understand that this is an addiction and you can help them by setting boundaries with their gambling. This might mean deciding to take over their finances and managing it yourself, or it could mean setting up some new rules in your home or in other areas of your life to control how they spend their money.