Gambling is a fun activity that people should be able to enjoy. But, if it has become a problem for you and you can no longer control yourself, you might need help. Learn how to fight the gambling urge.
Compulsive gambling can be a scary thing. But, one should bear in mind that gambling never starts out as a problem. In fact, for most people, it never becomes one at all. It is simply a fun little way for them to waste some time and spend some money. Some of them even end up making a lot of money playing online games or betting in brick-and-mortar casinos.
But, when going to Vegas stops being a fun trip to take during the vacation, and your habit turns into a gambling disorder, you might want to reconsider your actions. Hopefully, this guide can help you figure out how to improve your impulse control and beat pathological gambling once and for all.
Recognize That You Have a Problem
Recognizing the signs and symptoms of addiction is the first and most important step in overcoming the issue. These are some signs that you should be on the lookout for if you, or someone you love, is a frequent gambler:
- Talking or thinking about gambling at all times even if you are in an engaging environment that has nothing to do with gambling.
- Diminishing returns when it comes to thrill make you place larger bets.
- Signs of irritability during longer periods without gambling.
- Trying to solve money issues that were caused by the habit by placing more bets.
- Seeing any money you get as “gambling money” and trying to get it from any source available.
- Falling into financial hardship due to the addiction.
- Damaging your relationships or losing a job due to the addiction.
Find out What Your Triggers Are
To put it simply, a “trigger” is anything that makes you wish to go out and gamble. The most common trigger, for example, is hearing others talk about gambling or seeing them do it. But, triggers can be a lot more subtle than that. For some people, it is the upbeat music that is common in casinos. Some connect casinos to the drinks they usually order. And, of course, there are those that think about placing bets whenever they are bored.
Figuring out your triggers can help you notice the instances where you want to gamble due to the addicton.
Avoiding the Triggers
If you know what your triggers are, the best thing you can do, if you want to stop gambling is to avoid them. Unfortunately, that might mean cutting ties with people who enjoy gambling themselves.
If your triggers are certain kinds of music, be prepared to change the radio station if you ever hear it. And, if your trigger is boredom, make sure to make your life as interesting as you can. Get a hobby, go out with your friends, seek out career advancement or find other ways to entertain yourself.
Seek Out Professional Help
Whatever the cause for your issue is, mental health professionals can give you council on problem gambling. They can help you realize what your issues are and teach you how to manage your impulses.
Talk to your therapist about any and all issues that trouble you. It is not uncommon for bad habits to be fueled by other issues that burden people. Ask them to help you figure out the best approach to your problem.
Consider Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy as a Possible Solution
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is one of the most effective methods for treatment of gambling addicts. So, you should definitely consider it as one of your first options. This form of therapy focuses on replacing the “bad” beliefs with good ones.
One of the reasons gambling is potentially dangerous is that there are a lot of myths surrounding it. Casual players and compulsive gamblers alike believe in similar fallacies when they go out to gamble. One of those is famous as the “gambler’s fallacy.” People who subscribe to it believe that the result of the previous round influences the result of the next one. So, if a slot machine hasn’t paid in a hundred rolls, they might think that it is “due” for a jackpot.
To make things perfectly clear, nothing works like that. All casino games are made to work at random and statistics don’t lie. The odds of winning are the same for each round, regardless of the result that happened in the previous round.
Some people believe in “signs.” They will place their bets based on the surrounding random occurrences, believing they have figured out the universe. But, that is rarely the case.
Some people will even avoid placing the best bets in craps due to their superstitions. Namely, there is a large percentage of craps players that would rather take the lower odds of certain bets than to allow the dealer to touch their chips.
The important part is to understand that none of those beliefs are true. These beliefs can cause people to start chasing that win and ending up becoming problem gamblers themselves. If you want to gamble, approach the games rationally and always be ready to part with the money you bring with yourself.
Don’t Try to Do It Alone
Breaking any habit is not an easy thing and addictions are much more than just habits. So, if you want to really make it work, make sure to get support from your family and friends. Your family members should understand you and be capable of helping you stop.
Alternatively, you can join a support group such as Gamblers Anonymous and meet others with the same issue. The group will give you an outlet that allows you to speak about your issues. You will also have a chance to help others on their way and help yourself heal.