How to Break the Habit of Gambling


Gambling is an activity in which a person stakes something of value, such as money or possessions, on the outcome of an event. It is an enjoyable and socially acceptable pastime for the majority of people, but for a small percentage it can become a serious problem with potentially severe consequences. While the vast majority of individuals do not experience gambling problems, the risk of such a problem is higher for individuals with mood disorders, and it can impact their relationships, work or study performance, health and even leave them homeless.

The main cause of gambling is addiction, but it can also be caused by other factors such as depression, stress and anxiety. Those who are predisposed to gambling may find themselves in a cycle of gambling to relieve these symptoms, which can lead to further damage and increased dependence. For those who are struggling with a gambling problem, there is help available. Whether this is through counselling and family therapy, or inpatient and residential treatment programs for those with severe gambling problems that require round the clock care.

In order to break the habit of gambling, it is important to identify what triggers you to gamble, and then replace these triggers with healthier alternatives. It is often helpful to try and think of a number of activities that you can do to relieve boredom or unpleasant feelings, such as exercising, spending time with friends who don’t gamble, or trying out new hobbies. Having these activities as alternatives will give you something to look forward to instead of turning to gambling when things aren’t going your way.

It is also important to recognise red flags in your gambling, such as using credit cards, borrowing money or putting other financial commitments at risk in order to gamble. Taking control of your finances can be a useful way to stop these behaviours, by limiting access to credit card accounts and ensuring that you are not carrying large amounts of cash on you. It is also a good idea to avoid high-risk situations, such as gambling when you are depressed or stressed, and to never gamble with money that you need for bills and rent.

If you find yourself losing track of time while gambling, or finding that it is interfering with your day-to-day life, then set a timer to remind yourself when your limit has been reached. Casinos are free from clocks, and it is easy to lose track of time while playing online, so having a reminder can help you stay in control. In addition, you should avoid chasing your losses, as the odds are that you will only make things worse by attempting to win back your losses. Instead, allocate a certain amount of your disposable income to gambling, and then stick to that amount. You should also avoid combining gambling with alcohol or other drugs, as this can make it easier to lose control of your actions. In addition, avoiding high-risk places like casinos and TABs will help you stay in control.