Whether it’s buying Lotto tickets, placing bets on the horses or sports events, playing video poker or tossing a coin in the air, many people gamble at some stage in their lives. However, for some it becomes a serious problem that negatively impacts their work and social life. For some individuals, gambling can even lead to debt. If this is the case, it’s important to seek advice immediately.
It’s a well-known fact that the odds are you will lose money when you gamble. But, despite this knowledge, some people keep on betting and losing large amounts of money. This type of behavior is known as pathological gambling and is an underlying condition that can be treated. There are several types of treatment that can help a person with this condition, including cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). This is a form of psychotherapy that aims to change unhealthy emotions and thoughts by changing how you behave. CBT is used by psychologists and can be carried out either in person or online.
Another way to help prevent harmful gambling is by creating a bankroll. Before you start gambling, decide how much you are willing to spend and stick to it. Make sure you only gamble with money that you can afford to lose and never use money that is needed for rent or bills. It is also important to set a time limit for yourself and leave when you reach it, regardless of whether you are winning or losing.
Having a strong support network can also help someone overcome a gambling addiction. Consider reaching out to family members or friends who don’t gamble and join a club or activity group, such as a book club or sports team. This can be a great way to socialize without the temptation of gambling and learn new skills.
You should also try to avoid gambling when you’re feeling upset, depressed or down. This can be hard because gambling offers a temporary rush and distraction from unpleasant feelings. However, there are healthier ways to relieve unpleasant emotions, such as exercising, spending time with friends who don’t gamble and practicing relaxation techniques.
The biggest step towards breaking a gambling habit is admitting that you have one. This can be difficult, especially if the addiction has cost you significant sums of money and strained or broken relationships. It may also be tough to face the reality that you have a gambling disorder when you have spent years hiding it and denying its existence. But, don’t give up hope – there are many others who have broken free from their gambling habit and rebuilt their lives. For more information and support, speak to a qualified debt advisor at StepChange. It’s free, confidential and available 24/7.