Anyone can get addicted to gambling. Any form of gambling can be addictive — whether it be sports betting, slot machines, scratch cards, online gambling, poker or casino.
Effects of Gambling
At its worst, gambling addiction can lead to bigger problems. This is known as compulsive gambling or pathological gambling. It becomes a psychiatric disorder when you can no longer control the impulse, urge, or temptation to gamble.
Compulsive gambling can affect different aspects of your life. Firstly, you can lose his job. Secondly, it can also lead to your bankruptcy. Then you will be faced with great financial loss due to excessive debts. You will even have to pawn or sell valuable possessions like real state, jewelries, or cars.
But what is most disappointing is when your relationships with the people around you — your loved ones, your friends, your co-workers — are broken because of trust issues.
Gambling can also push you to committing crimes, such as theft or fraud. When your inability to control gambling reaches an alarming point, you must find a way to stop.
How to Stop Gambling Addiction
Any type of addiction can be overcome. If you or someone in your family has signs of addiction, here are ways on how to stop gambling.
Essential to recovery from pathological gambling is to admit that you are a gambling addict. Admission is the first step to finding a solution to your addiction. On the contrary, denial can make it difficult to get help.
However, only a small percentage of addicted gamblets seek treatment. That is why it is very important to admit to your gambling addiction early on. Convincing yourself to submit to intervention plans will not be quite as difficult as convincing yourself in the late stage of your gambling addiction.
Oftentimes, a gambler feels ashamed to admit that he is addicted to gambling. In his mind, he thinks that playing cards or slot machines is just a pastime.
When admission is achieved, it is a huge step towards treatment.
Gamblers Are Always Losers
Casinos and online betting games are a multi-million dollar business in Las Vegas. According to a study by the University of Las Vegas, more than $72 million of revenues in 2013 came from 23 casinos.
When you enter a casino, your brain starts to release a feeling of euphoria & you hope to win. When you start betting and lost all your gambling money, your brain also tells you that your winning is due next. What gamblers never know is that only the casinos are the real winners.
Face the truth! Every time you think you’ll win in the next spin or slot, think that you will certainly lose your money. You’ll never win against the online betting system no matter what preparations you’ve done. No matter what betting strategies you’ve discovered, you’ll certainly lose.
Gamblers will always be losers. It is practically futile to believe that gambling will give you immediate high rewards. The “get-rich-quick” in gambling is a fallacy.
The only solution to your financial woes is to completely stop gambling now. Remind yourself that if you won’t stop, you’ll end up with more money issues. This is a good motivation to stop when you feel any urge to gamble.
In the same way that your brain gives you the euphoria to win, then let your brain tell your that gambling is synonymous to losing.
Mingle with a support group. Many gamblers join self-help groups to overcome their addiction. Support groups have an intervention program helping not only gambling addicts but also alcoholics.
You can easily find help groups locally in the Internet. They usually have websites for registration.
Seek Professional Help
You cannot overcome gambling addiction alone. You must seek help from a medical professional.
When you admit to being a pathological gambler, you can directly ask for the services of a therapist. He can provide standard treatment for your gambling addiction.
Addicted gamblers undergo cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT . The therapy aims at suppressing your destructive behavior and thoughts. This is done through a face-to-face session with your therapist.
During CBT sessions, your therapist will help you work out coping skills. Usually these coping skills seems to be impossible at first try but they are doable.
The therapy also involves the development of cognitive tools so that you can resist the temptation to go back to your old habits. It will be difficult at first especially during Day 1 but with you will be guided on how to do them & overcome your urge to gamble again.
The session allows you to practice waiting long hours before give in to your gambling urge.
CBT is not only a temporary way of letting a you forget your addiction to gambling. It is also a successful way of preventing you to backslide into previous gambling ways after having stopped for a while.
An addicted gambler can also seek help from a psychiatrist for medication.
Gamblers usually have trouble feeling “high”. But instead of getting high, doctors have a way of giving the gambler a “moderate high” which is a normal high through drugs.
A psychiatrist can prescribe you an anti-depressant or mood stabilizer. The pill will target your serotonin system to arrest an imbalance in dopamine.
Dopamine is a compound in the body that serves as a neurotransmitter and a precursor of other substances such as adrenaline.
Opiate antagonists such as Nalmafen are recommended by a doctor. It reduces the creation of positive feelings when winning.
Get Involved in Wholesome Activities
Replace gambling with healthy and wholesome activities, such as yoga, running, biking, or even walking. Take part in wholesome activities, preferably with your family, to distract your mind. Be busy with more important things to keep you away from gambling places.
What activities can you do? You may take on a hobby such as painting or craft-making. Rediscover your interests or daily activities which you previously enjoy.
You can start by having a plan or a list of activities. Choose far healthier to do activities than gambling. You will find out that these activities can also you pleasure or enjoyment.
It is possible to stop gambling. You only need to recognize your addiction and be honest about it especially to your family and friends. They are the very first people who will be happiest when you admit you are a gambler, and that you badly need their help.