How to Stay Safe and Avoid Getting Addicted
Gambling is a recreational activity that involves betting or wagering on something of value, typically money, with the intent to win additional money or prizes. It is a risky activity because the odds are against you and you may lose more money than you bet.
In many places, gambling is illegal. It also can be very harmful, leading to addiction, financial problems, and even death. Whether you are gambling online or at a local casino, there are some things to keep in mind that can help you stay safe and avoid becoming addicted.
Realize you have a problem
It can be difficult to accept that you have a gambling addiction. It can be especially hard if you have lost money and relationships due to your gambling habits. However, once you admit to yourself that you have a problem, it can be the first step toward healing and recovery.
Set a limit to how much you can spend on gambling
Gambling can be addictive, so it’s important to set a budget and stick to it. It’s also a good idea to decide how long you will gamble and leave when you have reached your limit.
Be careful about your emotions
Gamblers who are depressed or have other mental health issues are more likely to gamble. They also have higher rates of self-injury. They may gamble to relieve emotional distress or to distract themselves from feelings of anger or anxiety.
If you have a mental health problem, talk to your doctor about treatment. This may include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or medication. It can also involve family therapy and group support, such as Gam-Anon or Alcoholics Anonymous.
Strengthen your support network
It’s hard to overcome a gambling addiction without support from friends, family, and professionals. It can be helpful to seek out a sponsor, someone who has experience with overcoming this condition and can help you stay motivated and focused on recovery.
If you find yourself craving gambling, give yourself some time to think about it and resist the urge to play. Try to visualize what will happen if you give in to the temptation and make a plan for how you can avoid it.
Be honest with yourself
If your gambling is causing financial, work, or relationship problems, be honest about it with your doctor and therapist. They can help you figure out what is causing the problem and recommend a treatment plan that will help you get your life back on track.
Be realistic about your gambling
It’s important to realize that all forms of gambling are risky, so you should never treat them as a way to earn money. It’s always better to spend your money on something else that will bring you more joy and satisfaction, like family and friends, or a career.
Don’t gamble while in pain or feeling stressed
It can be difficult to stop gambling if you are feeling down or stressed out, but you should try to do so. This can be done by taking a break from the game, going to a movie or listening to music, or practicing a relaxation exercise that you can use when you feel your gambling urges coming on.