Quitting gambling is no small feat, but it is possible if you have the support of a support group or a treatment program. Without professional help, it can be even more challenging. Support from family and friends are essential for a full recovery, but it may not be obvious how to quit gambling on your own. Here are a few tips:
Gambling, or problem gambling, is a disorder characterized by a person’s inability to control their desire to bet or win money. Problem gambling is often a result of excessive risk taking and damage to finances and relationships. It may even lead to criminal behavior. Gamblers are found in all demographic groups, and the signs and symptoms of this disorder can vary by individual. The common features of problem gambling are a preoccupation with gambling, increasing stakes, and an attempt to make up for losses through gambling.
The DSM-IV criteria for evaluating the severity of problem gambling have changed significantly over the last three decades. In contrast to the criteria used in previous studies, the newer diagnostic criteria focus on identifying the most critical characteristics of gambling-related distress. Researchers have refined these criteria by surveying 222 compulsive gamblers and 104 substance-abusing social gamblers. The new criteria focus on nine symptoms that may indicate the presence of problem gambling.
Signs of a problem
Gambling can be a fun pastime if done in moderation and with the correct mindset. But when this pastime becomes an addiction, it can turn into something far more serious. Problem gambling is often referred to as a “hidden addiction” because there are rarely any outward symptoms. However, it’s vital to know the signs of a gambling problem so that you can intervene to help the gambler.
One of the hallmarks of a gambling addiction is the inability to control one’s urges. Symptoms of gambling addiction include a heightened sense of anxiety and restlessness, which make it difficult to stop. If you have noticed these symptoms in yourself, you should seek help from a qualified professional. Here are some signs of a gambling problem:
There are various treatment approaches for people suffering from gambling disorders. Some treatments are primarily focused on improving a person’s ability to cope with high-risk situations. These high-risk situations can include interpersonal difficulties, environmental settings, or feelings of discomfort. A tool called the Inventory of Gambling Situations (IGS) helps identify these risky situations. Relapse prevention involves teaching an individual to develop new coping mechanisms in order to avoid engaging in unhealthy gambling behavior.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most widely studied type of treatment for gambling disorders. It attempts to alter fundamental thinking patterns to prevent future relapses. Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps individuals identify their own cognitive biases that lead to their addictive behavior. During the course of treatment, these people can learn how to change these biases and avoid future gambling episodes. In addition to teaching social skills, this therapy can also help people overcome their negative beliefs about gambling.
Creating a theory of change for prevention of gambling can be a powerful tool in changing the culture and behavior of the community. It can help organizations identify how they can reach their goals, which include short-term, intermediate, and long-term outcomes. The aim of these plans is to reduce problem and underage gambling, while building health equity within the community. In the following example, strategies targeting youth and men of color are indicated. The strategies corresponding to these populations overlap.
In general, prevention of gambling should focus on understanding the motivation for a person’s decision-making. Although gambling may be considered a novel activity or an occasional social activity, it can quickly become an obsession, requiring repeated actions. It can be difficult to stop when the urge to gamble increases, but understanding the reason for your gambling behaviour can help you change it. If you find yourself unable to resist the temptation, there are many organisations that can help you overcome your problem. They may offer counselling or support for the entire family.