Gambling is a popular activity, but it can be dangerous. It can leave you with debts, a poor performance at work or school, and a life that is ruined.
Luckily, there are ways to cope with gambling addiction. One important step is to build a support network. You can reach out to family and friends, or join a peer support group. The National Gambling Helpline is also available at 1-800-662-HELP (4357). Other services, such as credit counseling, can help you through your problems.
If you think you may have a gambling problem, the first thing you should do is to consult a mental health professional. Many professional counselors use the DSM criteria to determine whether you have a gambling disorder. They can then provide you with help and advice to change your behavior.
There are several reasons why people start to gamble. Some of these reasons include a desire to win, a social reward, and an intellectual challenge. Others include self-soothing, a way to unwind, and a form of entertainment. Regardless of the reason, though, if you find yourself using gambling to numb emotional or physical pain, you need to get help.
Often, people who are addicted to gambling will try to conceal their actions. By lying about how much money they have spent or how often they have gambled, they can cover up the extent of their involvement. Ultimately, they may end up stealing or selling items to pay for gambling.
Eventually, you will run out of money. In order to avoid this, you can set boundaries with your money. This can keep you from relapsing. Taking control of your finances doesn’t mean micromanaging your impulses, however. A good alternative is to seek out a sponsor or volunteer for a cause.
Another option is to try to spend more time with non-gambling friends. Exercise can help you relieve boredom, and spending time with other people is a healthy way to unwind. And you can join a support group, such as Gamblers Anonymous. Besides providing a means for you to connect with others who are experiencing similar problems, you can learn more about the consequences of gambling, and gain better awareness of your own behavior.
Gambling can be a fun pastime, but if it starts taking over your life, it is time to make a change. Even if you have tried to stop, you may slip from time to time. Keep working towards recovery. Learn from your mistakes and strengthen your support system. You can also find education classes to help you deal with gambling.
The last thing you want to do is get into trouble with the law. In addition to the risk of getting into serious debt, you could be arrested if you engage in gambling. Fortunately, you can easily learn how to stay out of legal trouble. Several states have helplines and information services for those who need it.
Finally, you can seek out counseling and therapy. Counseling and therapy can help you understand why you are gambling and how to change your behavior. It can also help you resolve any underlying issues that are keeping you from stopping.