An addiction to gambling brings with it an assortment of problems well beyond the issue of money. Gambling addiction destroys families, careers and of course finances. An addiction to gambling is as destructive as addiction to drugs and alcohol. Symptoms such as violent mood swings feature as much (or if not more) when the addiction concerned is gambling. An addiction to gambling also exposes sufferers to a suicide risk.
To combat ill-fortunes induced by a gambling addiction Cassiobury Court has pulled together some quick tips to overcoming gambling addiction.
Since gambling addiction is a disease, we fully recommend a four week gambling rehab programme. During rehab gambling addicts refrain from engaging in gambling. A number of therapies are provided to treat the psychological aspect of gambling addiction.
However a four week rehab programme is neither quick nor can it be considered a ‘tip’. The aim of rehab is abstinance.
The aim of this blog post centres on ‘harm reduction’, not abstinance. We hope to arm gambling addicts with useful mechanisms to combat their addiction. In no way or shape is this post intended to replace or remove the need for residential rehabilitation.
Now let’s discuss tips to helping you to combat your gambling addiction:
#1. Maintain a gambling diary
A gambling diary helps addicts analyse and understand their addiction. Include a column is labelled ‘Gambling activities’. Next includes a column labelled ‘Time spent on this activity’ and next to that is a column labelled ‘Money spent’. Finally include a column labelled ‘thoughts’. In this final column write down your thought processes leading up, during and after you have gambled.
#2. Set abstinance goals
Set a goal to stop gambling for 24 hours. Then set a goal to stop gambling for 48 hours. Increase this period up to several days. If you fail write down in your ‘gambling diary’ the reasons why you feel you failed.
Do not label this ‘failure’ but as a ‘learning experience’.
Re-attempt this exercise again and try to avoid factors that caused you to fail last time.
#3. Know ‘triggers’ of addiction and go about avoiding them
The above exercise should shed light on psychological and physical ‘triggers’ of addiction. Triggers could include going online, going out with certain friends, drinking alcohol or taking drugs. Keep an inventory of addiction triggers and make it your mission to avoid them.
#4. Find alternative activities
Try to fill your diary with activities not related to gambling. This includes sports, visiting friends and family or just going shopping. Choose activities not related to gambling. For instance going to a sporting event such as a football game could trigger gambling. If so this activities should be avoided. Choose instead a past-time not linked to gambling.
#5. Go see your GP
Unlike other addictions, no medication exists to treat symptoms associated with gambling addiction. However your GP may prescribe you with antidepressants to combat depression brought on by a gambling addiction.
#6. Inform family of your problem
If you’ve not done so already inform your family of your gambling addiction. Also inform them of your decision to cut down on your gambling. Making your intentions known puts pressure on you to deliver on your commitment. Now you’re not just making a commitment to yourself but to loved ones too.
#7. Never borrow to gamble
Borrowing money to spend on gambling is the worst decision you could possibly make. When you loose (not the word ‘when’ not ‘if’) you must pay the money back along with any interest payments.
#8. Keep credit and debit cards at home
Remove the urge to gamble by cutting off your supply of cash. Keep credit and debit cards at home so you’re not able to gamble.
#9. Cancel your Internet connection
Having access to the Interenet is a feature of modern living. The Internet delivers many positive in our lives. However if you gamble through the internet weight up the benefits of not having the Internet versus the pain of having the Internet. If cutting off the Internet means you reduce or eliminate your gambling addiction then this may be a move worth making.
#10. Never gamble alone
Gambling alone means you are effectively driving without brakes. If you really must gamble consider bringing along a friend or family member who is not a gambling addict. This affords you a voice of reason if your gambling gets out of hand.
#11. Find and attend a support group
Gamblers Anonymous (GA) provides support groups throughout the United Kingdom. GA provides ‘12 step programmes’. Some groups may teach the programme with religious undertones. If you prefer something more non-secular try SMART Recovery.