With the growth of online casinos and bookies, opportunities to put on a bet have increased greatly in recent years, particularly in Western countries. Conquering a gambling addiction involves putting the right plan in place but also facing up to the underlying causes of the problem. Gambling addiction is very often complicated with alcohol or drug abuse which means solving the issue can take some time and a good deal of perseverance.
Getting control of the impulse to gamble is difficult for an addict. Left to continue it can cause problems such as putting strain on a marriage or relationship, creating financial issues and can even lead to unsocial behaviours such as stealing to feed that habit. Problem gamblers will continue to place bets no matter how much they are losing and many can suffer from mood disorders such as depression and ADHD. Access to online gambling has made it more difficult for sufferers to avoid falling back into the bad habits and the challenges they face are large but, thankfully, not insurmountable.
Admitting You Have a Problem
As with all addictions, the first step to conquering a gambling problem is to admit you have one in the first place. For many this happens after a catastrophic event occurs – either a loved one leaves or too much money is spent causing a financial crisis. You have a problem with gambling if you are keeping it a secret, find it difficult to stop once you begin, gamble when you have no funds to do so or your nearest and dearest are becoming more and more worried that you have an issue.
Getting Help for Your Gambling Addiction
People make a choice to gamble and you may be strong enough to stop it and find other ways to occupy your mind. Other gamblers just can’t resist the lure of the slot machines, roulette table or the local bookies, no matter how much they try.
In these cases, something like Cognitive Behaviour Therapy can undoubtedly help. This is all about changing unhealthy behaviours and can work for a number of addictive practices, particularly gambling. It’s about problem solving and changing belief systems which can be powerful tools in coping with gambling habits. A slight variation on CBT is the Four Steps Program that also helps you change the way you think and your beliefs.
It’s difficult to succeed on your own if you want to conquer a gambling addiction. That means getting support from friends and families and avoiding areas where you might be exposed to the drug high of placing a bet. Addictions are generally all difficult to solve unless there is a support network in place and you will probably find that your partner or family are as keen to solve the issue as much as you are.
Simple things you can do are:
Distraction can also work, for example, going for a run or working out at the gym. A severe gambling addiction is difficult to solve, however, and there really needs to be that support system in place that gives you a greater chance of achieving success. Without addressing the underlying behaviour and changing your compulsive way through a therapy like CBT you may just be putting everything on hold and find yourself going back to your old ways.