Gambling addiction can wreak havoc on personal relationships, destroy savings accounts and even leave you in debt. There are many treatment options available to those who struggle with this disorder, and there is help for families who are struggling as well. The key is to recognize the signs and symptoms of gambling addiction, and seek treatment as soon as you realize there’s a problem.

The first step is to identify the triggers that cause you to gamble, which are any thoughts, feelings or situations that lead you to want to play. Some common triggers include feeling bored, stressed, depressed or angry, thinking about past losses or hoping to win back money you’ve lost (chasing your losses). Identifying and understanding your triggers is essential for conquering your gambling addiction. Once you’ve identified your triggers, it’s important to learn how to cope with them. A good way to do this is by practicing stress and anxiety management techniques, like meditation, yoga or deep breathing. Another way to combat your urges is by incorporating hobbies or activities into your daily routine that can act as replacements for risky gambling behaviors. Volunteering, working out and even listing all the things you’re grateful for can increase positive feelings and shift your attention away from unhealthy habits.

If you can’t avoid triggers, try to minimize the time spent around gambling establishments and other people who gamble. For example, if you find yourself driving by a casino after work and feeling the urge to gamble, consider taking a different route home. You could also join a support group for gamblers, which is a great place to discuss your struggle with others who have the same issues. Talking about your gambling problems with someone you trust and who won’t judge you can ease the pain of bottling up your emotions. Seeking help from a therapist can be beneficial too, as they can teach you effective strategies for dealing with your gambling disorder.

Gambling is a difficult habit to break, but with the right support system in place, you can overcome it and regain control of your life. In addition to seeking therapy, it’s important to set financial boundaries and eliminate temptation by getting rid of credit cards, limiting your access to ATM withdrawals, closing online betting accounts and only keeping a small amount of cash on you at all times.

For some people, overcoming their gambling addiction may require more intensive treatment. Residential and inpatient programs are available for those who cannot control their gambling habits without round-the-clock supervision and support. For those who have co-occurring mental health conditions, medications can be used to ease symptoms and help with the recovery process.


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