How to Stop a Gambling Problem

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How to stop gambling
How to stop gambling (Image: © Feng Yu - Fotolia.com, permission granted)

Gambling splurges and gambling addiction cause more than financial hardship. These problems often bring on depression and may involve work and family difficulties. Some people are able to stop a gambling problem before more serious problems arise, and these tips may help.

Things You'll Need

  • Notebook
  • Support
  • Professional help (optional)

Make a list of all gambling expenditures no matter how small. This will enable you to evaluate, in black and white, the monetary costs involved. Additionally, include any loans, interests or material sacrifices created to support gambling activities. Keep a running total for as long as you gamble. If you win, notice how far you were in debt before the actual winnings took place.

Take a realistic look at winning. While many people are motivated by the lure of riches, a person with a gambling problem often risks more than the potential winnings and/or overestimates her chances of winning.

Recognize how you feel about money and debt and obtain financial guidance if needed. Some people can stop a gambling problem by learning how to avoid feeling overwhelmed with debt. Constructive actions to reduce financial pressures can lead to a new peace of mind, even if the debt is considerable.

Keep a journal of your feelings before and after you gamble, even if it is only a few descriptive words. You can better stop a gambling problem if you can identify some of the compelling reasons for doing so. Winning or money is only part of the motivation. Other feelings may include boredom, stress, loneliness, emptiness, poor self-esteem and depression.

Find an activity that you are passionate about. Turn to other distractions when the gambling urge strikes. Be aware that many chronic gamblers are also chronic shoppers, so be careful not to substitute one financial problem for another.

Seek out ways to deal with negative feelings and gambling urges – from stress reduction to self-esteem building techniques. Many gambling addicts require some type of professional help or support group. If you are determined to quit gambling on your own, your chances may significantly improve with an honest self evaluation and support.

Try giving over financial control, including your credit cards and checkbooks, to a trusted loved one or friend. Online gamblers may need to close current accounts. Though this is a difficult step for some, it is effective for the highly motivated who seem to otherwise go on unexpected gambling binges. This doesn't solve the root of a gambling problem, but is a practical way to prevent it from worsening for some people.

Tips & Warnings

  • Consult a professional or support group experienced with gambling problems to best equip you with the knowledge and tools you need to address your situation.
  • If you experience gambling binges along with other mental or behavior changes, discuss your situation with a professional as medication and certain health problems may be largely responsible.

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