How to Stop Gambling

Gambling Jul 5, 2024

Gambling is a game of chance in which you risk something of value, such as money or goods, for the potential to win a prize. It is also called betting and can take place in a variety of places, including casinos, racetracks, online or at sporting events. It can involve predicting the outcome of an event, such as a football match or playing a scratchcard, but it also involves placing bets on random events, such as lottery numbers, rolling dice or a coin toss.

When gambling becomes problematic, it can cause people to lose control and experience harm in a variety of ways. These harms include impacting their health, relationships and work or study performance. It can also lead to serious debt, homelessness and even suicide. For some people, gambling can provide a temporary escape from stress or a sense of achievement, but it is important to recognise that problem gambling can be harmful and seek help if you think you may have a problem.

It is common for gambling to become addictive, but there are some things you can do to help you stop. Firstly, start by writing down your triggers – the people, places and thoughts that make you want to gamble. This will allow you to identify patterns and try to avoid these triggers in the future. For example, if your normal route to work passes by a casino or you watch sports matches on TV, consider taking an alternative route or changing the channel. You can also try to limit the amount of money you carry with you when you go out, by removing credit cards or keeping only a small sum in cash on you.

You should also learn about how gambling works in the brain, so that you can understand why it becomes a problem. Problematic gambling hijacks the reward pathway, which changes your brain chemistry and causes you to lose control of your behavior. In addition, the false positives that occur with problem gambling – like a quick early win – encourage you to keep playing, despite mounting losses.

Realising that you have a problem is not an easy thing to do, especially if you’ve lost a lot of money or damaged your relationships. However, many people have overcome this challenge and rebuilt their lives. If you’re ready to take action, BetterHelp is an online therapist service that can help you break the cycle of gambling addiction. Our therapists are licensed, accredited and experienced. You can be matched with one in as little as 48 hours. Take our free assessment now.