Gambling involves betting money or something else of value on an event involving chance. It’s a common pastime that can bring both excitement and sorrow.
However, gambling can become harmful if it is your only form of entertainment. To prevent this from happening, learn to handle stress in a healthy manner and seek other forms of entertainment.
Relieve Unpleasant Feelings in Healthy Ways
Gambling is often seen as an addictive activity but research has shown that it can have some positive side effects. These include socialization, mental developments and skill improvement. Additionally, gambling can also help people stay entertained and relaxed.
However, it is important to note that the study used arbitrary cut-offs of what constitutes problem gambling and so could be susceptible to selection bias. Moreover, the cross-sectional nature of the study prevents an evaluation of whether or not these associations are causal.
If you find yourself or someone you know using gambling as a way to relieve unpleasant feelings or distract themselves, try something else that makes you happy. You can also talk about it with a friend or family member or get non-judgemental support from the GamCare helpline. Just remember, moderate levels of gambling can be healthy and entertaining but when it gets out of control, it can have serious negative consequences for your health and wellbeing.
Strengthen Your Support Network
If you know someone who has a gambling problem, it’s important to show empathy and understanding. Encourage them to openly communicate with you without judgement, and help them find ways to vent their frustrations in healthier ways. You can also encourage them to seek professional help from therapists or counselors who specialise in gambling addiction and mental health issues.
Many individuals with a gambling problem also experience depression or anxiety. These conditions can be triggered by the same stressors as gambling. Therefore, it’s essential to avoid high-risk situations like spending time around friends who gamble or using gambling venues as social spaces.
You can also encourage your clients to join a support group, such as Gamblers Anonymous. This organisation helps individuals overcome their gambling problems by offering support and guidance from peers who understand what they’re going through. This network is free to access and provides face-to-face, telephone and online psychosocial and recovery support interventions.
Learn to Manage Your Moods and Relieve Boredom
Gambling can help relieve unpleasant feelings, distract you from your problems and provide a temporary sense of excitement. But these feelings can also lead to problem gambling, and it’s important to learn how to manage your moods in healthier ways.
One effective way to do this is by learning to recognize your triggers, which are any situations, thoughts or feelings that cause you to crave gambling. You can then plan ways to avoid or reduce exposure to these triggers. For example, if watching sports games or socializing with friends who gamble are triggers for you, then work on limiting your exposure to these events.
You can also try stress management techniques to cope with boredom, such as meditation, yoga or deep breathing exercises. Practicing these skills can help you feel more centered and resilient in the face of challenges, which can also reduce your risk for a relapse. Other coping strategies include exercising, spending time with friends who don’t gamble, and taking up new hobbies that stimulate the brain.
Know When to Quit
When it comes to gambling addiction recovery, avoiding high-risk situations and limiting exposure are essential. This can help minimize cravings and support recovery by reducing the risk of relapse. For example, avoiding the use of credit cards or loans, carrying large amounts of cash and avoiding socialising in venues that promote gambling are all great ways to reduce temptation.
Cravings for gambling can be overcome with distractions and other activities that promote positive emotions such as exercise, yoga or deep breathing. It is also helpful to write down triggers and their corresponding thoughts and feelings in a journal. These can then be used to identify what is triggering your gambling and how to cope with these triggers in the future.
While the aforementioned strategies can assist in helping someone with compulsive gambling disorder, ultimately the decision to stop must be made by the individual themselves. This is important because gambling can damage their state of mind, relationships with family and friends as well as their finances and self-respect.