If you’re struggling to control your gambling, don’t be afraid to seek help. It’s a common problem and one that can be helped with a few simple steps.
First, understand what you’re doing by examining the reasons you gamble and how it is affecting your life. Understanding why you’re gambling will help you change your behaviour so that it doesn’t harm your health or relationships.
Rather than using gambling as an escape from reality, find ways to replace it with new activities. This can be done by making time to visit friends and family, reading a book, joining a sports team or volunteering for a cause.
You can also cut down on your gambling by setting realistic expectations about how much you are willing to lose and sticking to it. If you can’t afford to lose, don’t play.
Be aware of how your gambling affects your finances, and think about how it could be impacting your family’s budget. Gambling can be very addictive, so it’s important to manage it responsibly.
It’s normal to experience feelings of excitement when you win money, but this can become a habit and a way of coping with stress or other problems in your life. If you feel this is happening regularly, or if you’re finding it hard to resist, get in touch with your local Better Health Channel for free and confidential advice.
Avoid high-risk situations like taking out credit, gambling when you don’t have the cash, or using gaming venues for socialising. These behaviours can weaken your resolve to stop or cut down on your gambling and increase the risk of you losing even more money.
Make sure you have a support network around you, including friends and family members who aren’t concerned about your gambling. You can also talk to someone in a Gamblers Anonymous group or other peer support group, if you’re worried about your gambling habits.
Strengthen your support network by getting in touch with a counsellor, or a member of the gambling community who can offer you advice and guidance. A gambling counsellor can support you to overcome any underlying issues that are contributing to your gambling, and they will help you develop strategies for controlling it so that you don’t harm your health.
Keep your gambling separate from other money-making activities and focus on your health. A balance between work, family and leisure will make it easier to stay on track with your finances.
Don’t gamble when you are depressed or angry, as this can increase the risk of you losing more money and becoming a problem gambler. This is because gambling stimulates the brain’s reward system and can lead to feelings of self-worthlessness, which can trigger thoughts of suicide.
If you’re a parent, you may want to speak with your children about how they are feeling about your gambling, or what you’ve been doing to support them. This will give them the confidence to ask you to stop.