Gambling is a form of entertainment that involves betting on an event, usually with the intent of winning something of value. The wagering process requires three elements: consideration (an amount wagered), risk, and a prize.
Gamble responsibly – This means choosing a gambling venue that is licensed and regulated, understanding the odds, and knowing when to stop gambling. It’s also important to learn how to limit your losses and avoid chasing lost money.
Keep a gambling diary – This will help you understand how much time you spend gambling and what you think, feel and do before and during your gambling sessions. It also helps you identify the triggers that are causing you to gamble.
Find a treatment for your problem – This can include cognitive behavioral therapy, medication or attending a support group such as Gamblers Anonymous. These options can make it easier to break the cycle of gambling.
Be accountable – This will give you the motivation and courage to cut down on gambling. Get a friend or family member to be your accountability partner and remind you to stick to your new plan.
Set goals and objectives – These can help you stay focused and clear on your intentions to cut down on or quit gambling. Taking on challenging tasks and learning new skills can also help you build up your resolve and willpower to change your behaviour.
Recognise your strengths and attributes – This can help you overcome your addiction by highlighting your positive qualities. You may want to rekindle a hobby that you enjoyed before your gambling problems began to take over or look for a new activity to fill your time.
Take advantage of your social network – This can help you to stay motivated to cut down on gambling by enabling you to share experiences with other people who are in the same boat as you. It can also help you to create new friendships and strengthen existing ones.
Identify your triggers and seek help – This will help you to recognise the situations or events that are most likely to encourage you to gamble. For example, if you gamble when your kids are off school or when you have a financial emergency, it’s important to minimise these triggers in your life.
Consider seeking professional help if you are experiencing significant mental health problems, such as anxiety, depression or other emotional disorders that may be contributing to your gambling habit. These conditions can often be treated with antidepressants, narcotic antagonists or mood stabilizers.
Counsellors can also be of assistance to help you through the process of recovery from your problem. They can also offer you guidance on how to cope with your emotions and help you re-focus on your priorities.
If you are a family member or friend of someone who is struggling with a gambling problem, be supportive and understanding. This will help to alleviate the stress that can come from knowing that a loved one is gambling and can help you to support them in their efforts to stop.