Beating An Addiction To Gambling
Gambling is often a source of great entertainment and a pleasurable activity for many people and has been enjoyed for centuries. However it can become an addiction very quickly and easily, and many addicts find themselves betting more and more frequently using larger and larger stakes until it has escalated out of control and they feel there is no way out.
Why Do People Become Addicted To Gambling?Many compulsive gamblers believe they can 'beat the system' and know how to achieve gambling success, however there are no guarantees and no 'dead certs' in gambling and most of the time the gambler will be losing money. If they have a run of luck, they often increase their amounts of money used for betting or bet more frequently and liberally thinking they have 'the knack'.
Gambling is often used to escape from the reality of everyday life and usually means the addict has to lie, hide, borrow and cheat to continue with their habit. The person spends a lot of time preoccupied with gambling related issues, has fantasies of success and becomes excited at the thought of placing a bet or winning.
Common gambling addictions include horse racing, dog racing, card games and casinos, lotteries, scratch cards, bingo, stocks and shares and online gaming.
Gambling addiction often causes relationships to become strained or even break down due to stress, financial pressures or the addict's behaviour; employment can also be at risk.
Beating The Gambling AddictionFortunately, if the addict is very serious about overcoming their gambling habit and has the determination and will power to start the process, there are many techniques that can be used to help achieve this goal.
When gambling or trying to give up gambling, feelings of shame, guilt, anger, anxiety and depression can occur. These emotions should be explored and discussed with a professional therapist.
Help can be found from the GP, from an online source or by following a recommendation. Once professional help has been arranged an assessment of the gambler, their background and gambling habits will be taken to plan an appropriate treatment regime; it is also important to discover, understand and address the underlying issues that contribute towards the addiction.
Counselling can either be on a one-to-one basis, online, on the telephone or in a group setting. The therapist may also use cognitive behavioural therapy to help combat the addiction, this therapy uses a combination of techniques to help the person change their attitudes, opinions and behaviours towards a certain issue.
Some experts recommend the person abstains from all types of gambling to overcome their problem, whilst others recommend reducing the type, frequency and amount of money spent on gambling by setting targets and limits of the activity; this is called 'controlled gambling' and is thought to be more successful, though success is determined by the individual.
Coping mechanisms need to be sought to help manage cravings and resist urges; other hobbies, relaxation activities or distraction therapy can help this.
Relapse can be avoided by limiting or avoiding stressful situations during the initial period of withdrawal, especially if abstinence is chosen. Do not begin or participate in conversations relating to gambling when socialising and try to find new ways of spending your free time and disposable income.
Relaxation and thought reconfiguration can help rationalise thoughts and actions and can help to lose the attraction of gambling.
Gambling addiction is a serious habit and can ruin many lives. It should be a fun and enjoyable activity so if you feel it is becoming a too serious part of life, please do seek help before gambling starts to ruin the lives of others as well.