Gambling can be a great form of entertainment, but it can also be unhealthy and dangerous. If you have gambling problems, there are ways to get help and stop.
1. Know your limits
Before you head to the casino, decide how much money you can afford to lose and stick to it. This way, you won’t get carried away and end up spending more than you can afford to lose.
2. Learn to self-soothe unpleasant feelings instead of gambling
It can be tempting to gamble when you feel stressed or depressed, but this may only make things worse. It can be more effective to self-soothe feelings by taking up healthier activities, such as exercise, reading or meditation.
3. Seek help for underlying mood disorders
If you are struggling with an underlying mental health problem, such as depression or anxiety, seek treatment. Often, this will include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to change the unhealthy thoughts and behaviors that cause your gambling addiction.
4. Set a gambling budget
A gambling budget is the best way to control your spending and prevent you from becoming an unhealthy gambler. It is not a guarantee that you’ll win, but it can help you avoid spending more than you can afford and staying longer at the casino.
5. Practice playing games with friends
Before heading to the casino, it’s a good idea to practice the games you want to play. This will give you a chance to learn how they work and get some feedback from other players.
6. Take advantage of gambling tips
Many casinos offer free lessons on different games, so you can get a feel for how they work and learn how to maximize your winnings. If you’re unsure about how to play, ask a member of staff for advice or consult an online casino guide.
7. Be aware of social consequences
You might lose friends, relationships, or jobs because you are a habitual gambler. Having a supportive environment is important for recovering from gambling.
8. Stay in recovery
Getting help for your gambling problems is a major step on the road to recovery from compulsive gambling. It can involve talking to a psychiatrist, therapist or other professional about your habits and your mental health.
9. Avoid temptations and pitfalls
One of the biggest challenges for recovering from a gambling addiction is to keep away from tempting places, websites, environments and people who can tempt you back into gambling. By avoiding those factors and finding healthy, more productive ways to pass the time, you can achieve long-term recovery from gambling addiction.
10. Consider treatment for underlying mood disorders
If you or someone you love has a problem with gambling, talk to your doctor or therapist about it. They can help you assess whether there are other underlying conditions causing your gambling problems, such as substance abuse or mental illness.
The latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM-5, has classified pathological gambling as a new disorder. The decision reflects new research that shows that gambling disorders are similar to substance-related disorders in their clinical expression, brain origin, comorbidity and treatment.