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How to Stop Gambling?

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February 15, 2021
Reviewed by: Rajnandini Rathod
How to Stop Gambling Addiction?

The following blog has been reviewed by a Psychologist. If you are reading the blog on a mobile phone, you can see the reviewer’s profile at the end of the blog. Please see our editorial policy here.

Have you seen the Bollywood movie Simran? Well, if not then let me tell you briefly about it. The protagonist of the movie, Simran goes to a casino for the first time in her life. For the sake of having fun, she plays at the casino and happens to win. She is extremely elated with the winning amount and buys a lot of stuff for herself with that money. She feels great as if she is on top of the world! 

She even thinks that gambling can get her more money easily. So, her next step is to visit that casino again to play. Unfortunately, she loses again and again and all her hard-earned money which she had kept to buy her house is lost. She is unable to bear the fact that she is losing, and borrows money to play and ends up losing that money also. As a result, she ends up being in heavy debt. The moral of the story is that gambling is indeed infectious and detrimental to the life of a human being.

You must have realised by now that gambling addiction can happen to anyone. It might begin as a fun activity but you might end up being addicted to it, leading to serious complications in your life. Do you know someone who has this problem with gambling? Believe me, gambling takes a toll on your life in ways which you could never ever have imagined. 

Gambling could be online or in casinos or sports (cricket), and it can spoil your relationships, leading to financial bankruptcy. Hence, if you are preoccupied with gambling, you tend to spend huge amounts of money on losing rather than winning, thereby losing complete control over yourself.

You must have understood by now that gambling begins as a fun activity but can end up being a problem for you. So, once you realise that you have a gambling problem then you must first admit it to yourself and then find ways of handling this problem. Always remember to take the help of your family and friends in this endeavour. This blog will help you know how to stop gambling.

Read more: All types of Addiction

Ways of Handling Gambling Problem

You must realise the fact that the problem of gambling affects individuals at all mental levels irrespective of their socio-economic background. You should not blame yourself for this problem and do not feel guilty about it. Some of the common ways which can help you in dealing with the gambling problem are the following:

  • Join a Support Group

The first step in this direction is to join a support group. A support group is an organisation maintained by people with similar experiences in the past. These support groups meet and provide a common ground for sharing their experiences in front of each other. 

One such group is Gamblers Anonymous established in 2010 in Mumbai, India. This group was formed with the objective of overcoming this irresistible desire of betting. The group members sit together and share their experiences. Even though they have already overcome their fear and craving of gambling, they meet once in a while to give insight into their spiritual journey which has unleashed a new ray of hope in their lives.

  • Take Help From Family and Friends

Always remember that you are not fighting this battle alone. You must take the assistance of your family and friends to stop the habit of gambling. Not only this, you can join a sports club or library or work for some social good to overcome this gambling addiction. Never feel isolated in this fight and take the help of your family to protect you emotionally and financially in this journey to overcome the habit of gambling. 

One way of doing this is by giving your credit and debit cards to your spouse or any trustworthy family member to be kept safely from you. You must give them the liberty to handle the finances on your behalf. Remember that your near and dear ones will always support you throughout your life. 

  • Avoid Temptation and Cravings

Another significant step in the direction of handling gambling problems is to avoid its temptation. It is indeed easier said than done! When you admit that you have a problem the next course of action is to identify its craving and resist it. For instance, while watching a cricket match on television you might feel the urge to bet. In such a scenario, change the channel and watch something else. 

Likewise, you might receive a message to play online rummy, then you need to block that number from your phone. Moreover, you might have to cut off from your regular friends with whom you gambled as this might weaken your resolve to stop gambling. You can also encourage them to get on this journey of recovery with you. The most important thing here is that you must never attempt to overcome the urge to gamble in isolation. You might feel emotionally weak to overcome this temptation so seek the assistance of your family members or friends.

Find Alternatives to Gambling

Once you have promised yourself to give up gambling. The next course of action is to find a hobby to replace it. You might have begun gambling for fun and then became addicted to it. So, now find a new hobby to keep your thoughts occupied and distract you from gambling. You can take up numerous activities for this purpose such as:

  • Gardening
  • Joining a music class
  • Meditation
  • Swimming
  • Joining a Gym
  • Driving
  • Cooking

By undertaking any of the above-mentioned activities, you will save money and time and redirect the same energy in some fruitful direction. Think of the benefits you would derive by undertaking one or more of such activities.

Contemplate About the Results of Gambling

You have to adopt a practical approach while deciding not to gamble any more. The habit of gambling is as dangerous as drug addiction. When you decide to give up the habit of gambling, it is essential for you to take the following aspects into consideration:

  • Primarily, the amount of financial loss that you and your family have suffered.
  • The strained relationships at the workplace and at home as a result of gambling.
  • The changes in your behaviour and attitude as a result of this gambling habit.

You need to identify the disastrous consequences associated with gambling. Once you recognise them, your journey to relinquish gambling will become an easy one. You can do so with the help of a journal by making a note of all the ways in which your gambling habit is affecting you. 

Seek Professional Assistance for Gambling Addiction Treatment

You might feel guilty of the fact that you are unable to overcome the habit of gambling but please do not do so and remember that it is not just a choice. Try and understand that every individual who was addicted to gambling might have at some point of time sought professional assistance. So you are not different from the rest and hence, do not feel sorry for yourself. 

However, it is important to remember that you need a programme which is specially designed to suit your needs and requirements. First of all, talk to your health professional or doctor and he might suggest the following ways:

  • Hospitalisation and Rehabilitation Programme 

This is required in case you need complete assistance and supervision 24×7. The medical support available in the hospital will help you in stabilising your condition even if it takes several months to do so.

  • Additional Complications Alongside Gambling 

The doctor needs to conduct a thorough medical examination in order to ascertain whether you are suffering from other health issues such as depression, anxiety, stress or substance abuse. These conditions can often be the underlying cause or can aggravate your gambling problem. Working on these will ensure that your medical treatment is complete and not just restricted to quitting gambling only. In addition, this will ensure that when you begin fresh you begin with a completely refreshed body and mind.

  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

This is a technique adopted by mental health counsellors to help you convert negative thoughts coming into your mind to more rational thoughts. This is an effective technique to help you to learn as to how to face challenging situations in any aspect of life. This therapy has proven to be fruitful in the long-term while dealing with mental health issues such as bipolar disorder, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), sleep disorder, phobia and others.

Remember, the road to recovery is tough and you will be able to emerge triumphant with the support of medical professionals. This will give you a new life, full of hope and vigour. So, do not hesitate or feel reluctant; seek professional help at the earliest.

Conclusion

You might have played the game of betting things or stuff in your childhood. But when you continue to relish this habit in your adulthood by betting money on drinks, or gambling, you can be in real danger! You need to at once ponder upon this habit of yours and quit before it gets too late. 

In India, gambling has been legalised at a very local level. One can easily resort to online gambling due to the emergence of an online banking system. But even if there are temptations surrounding you, you have to tell yourself repeatedly to stop this habit of gambling. Gambling puts lives at stake, not just yours but also of your dear ones. So the next time you bet, first, promise yourself that it is the last time in your life before it ruins every aspect of your life.

Sources

https://www.healthline.com/health/addiction/gambling#outlook

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/324059714_Cognitive-Behavioral_Therapy_for_Gambling_Addiction