Gambling is an activity in which you wager something of value – like money, time or items – on the outcome of a random event. While some people can gamble without harm, others develop problems that lead to gambling addiction. This is a serious illness that can affect all aspects of a person’s life, including relationships, work, health and finances. Gambling can also cause emotional distress and behavioural problems. People with gambling problems often feel a range of emotions, such as stress, guilt and shame. They may even have thoughts about suicide. In addition, they might start to gamble more frequently and spend more money on gambling than they can afford.
The good news is that you can overcome a gambling addiction. The first step is to recognise that you have a problem. This isn’t always easy, especially if you have been hiding the problem for a long time. However, it is essential that you acknowledge the problem in order to take action. You can then seek help and recovery support.
There are many different treatment options available for gambling addiction. These include behaviour therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), psychotherapy and family therapy. During these treatments, an expert will teach you skills to manage your urges and change the way you think about gambling.
Another option is to talk about your problem with someone you trust. This can ease the burden of bottling up your feelings and reduce your stress levels. It can also help you find new ways to relieve unpleasant feelings. For example, you might try exercising, spending time with friends who don’t gamble, taking up a new hobby or practicing relaxation techniques.
Keeping your finances in check is another important thing to do. You should avoid high-risk situations, such as using credit cards, taking out loans or carrying large amounts of cash with you. You should also stay away from casinos and online gambling sites. If you’re still socialising with friends who gamble, make sure you talk about your gambling habits in a non-triggering environment.
It’s also a good idea to stick to a daily routine. This will prevent you from feeling bored or tempted to gamble. In addition, you can set goals for yourself and stick to them each day. This can help you stay on track with your recovery plan. You should also rekindle your old hobbies. If you do lose interest in your hobbies, you can try activities that are more relaxing or fun, such as listening to music or reading.
You should also re-evaluate your lifestyle and look for healthier ways to cope with boredom or negative emotions. If you’re relying on gambling to relieve boredom or emotion, then consider seeking peer support in a recovery program, such as Gamblers Anonymous. These programs are based on the 12-step approach to alcoholism recovery and can provide invaluable guidance and support.
A relapse is an unfortunate part of the process when it comes to recovering from a gambling addiction. Relapses are usually short-lived, but they can have a significant impact on your life. In addition to the financial consequences, you could risk losing your home or business, end up in debt and ruin your relationship with your partner. In severe cases, you could even lose custody of your children.