Gambling is when people risk money or anything of value to predict the outcome of a game involving chance, such as on scratchcards or fruit machines or by betting with friends. If you win, you get a prize; if you lose, you get nothing.
Many people gamble at some point in their lives, though it is usually not considered a problem. However, if you or someone you know has a gambling addiction it can be difficult to deal with. The following advice can help:
Educate yourself on how gambling works and learn to recognise signs that it may be time to stop.
Aim to play casino games or sports betting only when you have enough cash in your bank account. This means that you should avoid using credit cards or transferring funds to online accounts, as these are risky and could leave you in debt.
Learn how to play a game correctly and use strategy to increase your chances of winning. This will keep your brain sharp and active, which can have a positive effect on your mental health.
You will also have a better understanding of your own abilities and how to improve them. This will give you confidence in your own skills and make you feel more self-assured, which can help to prevent relapse.
Take part in social activities that are not gambling related to strengthen your support network and help you maintain a healthy lifestyle. This will reduce the chances of you feeling lonely or depressed, and can help you build new relationships with people who share your interests.
Join a peer support group that can give you the emotional and practical support you need to cope with your gambling problems. This can include 12-step recovery programmes like Alcoholics Anonymous and Gamblers Anonymous. It is important to find a sponsor who has experienced the difficulties that you are facing and can provide you with support.
Remind yourself that you are only as strong as the weakest link in your network, and that you need the help of others to get through this tough time. You can find a number of free resources and websites that can help you build a strong support system, and there are many charities that can help with funding.
If you think a loved one might be suffering from a gambling addiction, it is important to seek support. You can speak to a therapist, counsellor or family member to discuss your concerns and find ways to support them.
Inpatient and residential treatment and rehab programs are aimed at those with severe gambling addiction who cannot resist gambling without round-the-clock support. These programmes are often based on a 12 step recovery programme and can be extremely effective in helping you recover from your gambling addiction.
You need to accept that it is normal for you to slip up and lose your way from time to time, but you can recover from your gambling addiction. It might take some time and a lot of hard work, but you can do it.