How to Quit Gambling


Gambling involves risking money or something of value to predict the outcome of a game or event that involves chance. Whether playing online, in a casino or on a sports team, gambling can be an addictive activity and result in serious consequences. Problem gambling can be devastating to individuals and families. Those who are struggling with this issue should seek help.

While there is no cure for gambling addiction, counseling can help. A therapist can teach coping skills and provide support and accountability. They can also address any underlying mental health issues, such as depression or anxiety, that may be contributing to gambling behavior. There are also self-help resources available, including online forums, phone hotlines and group meetings.

In addition to individual and family therapy, other treatment options include medication and behavioral modification. Medications can reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, which often contribute to gambling problems. Behavioral modification includes changing negative thought patterns, such as the illusion of control and irrational beliefs, that can lead to compulsive gambling.

Unlike drugs and alcohol, there are no FDA-approved medications that specifically treat gambling disorder. However, some medications can be used to manage the effects of gambling on a person’s mental and physical well-being. Several behavioral therapies can also be helpful, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy and motivational enhancement.

While it is not easy to quit gambling, there are many things that can be done to help a person break the habit. Start by identifying what triggers the urge to gamble, then taking steps to avoid or reduce exposure to those situations. For example, if your route to work takes you past casinos, consider taking a different route or turning off the TV when watching sports makes you want to place bets.

It is important to remember that gambling is not a profitable way to make money and can actually cost you more in the long run. Make a promise to yourself to never gamble with more money than you can afford to lose. Also, keep in mind that gambling can take the place of more fulfilling activities such as spending time with family and friends or exercising.

One of the best ways to curb your gambling habit is to find new activities that will give you the same sense of excitement and euphoria that you get from gambling. Make a list of all the reasons you need to quit and refer to it when the urge strikes. For example, you could remind yourself that you will be freeing up your time to spend with your family, reducing your debt or improving your marriage.

Those with financial or legal issues related to gambling should seek financial advice. If someone close to you is a compulsive gambler, it may be worth considering legal options such as limiting their access to credit cards and checking accounts or changing the will to prevent inheritance loss. In addition, family and friends can offer support by talking openly about their experiences with the person who is gambling.