How to Overcome a Gambling Problem
Gambling is a risky activity in which you stake something of value for the chance to win a prize, which can range from a small amount of money to a life-changing jackpot. You can gamble at casinos, racetracks and online. Some people who have a gambling problem use it as a way to relieve stress or boredom, distract themselves from unpleasant emotions or to make up for financial problems. Gambling can also lead to depression, and many people with a gambling disorder experience thoughts of suicide. If you have thoughts of suicide, call 999 or visit A&E immediately.
There are a number of ways to reduce your risk of developing a gambling problem, including making sure you never gamble with money you need for other purposes (e.g. for bills or rent). Using credit cards to fund your gambling can be dangerous, so it is a good idea to get rid of them and only gamble with cash that you have set aside for entertainment purposes. It is also a good idea to make sure you take regular breaks while playing, as this can help you focus and avoid getting distracted.
The first step to overcoming a gambling problem is acknowledging that you have one, which can be difficult, particularly if you have lost a lot of money or damaged your relationships as a result. A mental health professional can help you recognise the signs of a gambling problem and develop strategies to overcome it, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). This is a type of talk therapy that helps you examine your thinking patterns and behaviours and learn healthier alternatives. You may also benefit from joining a support group for gamblers, such as Gamblers Anonymous.