How to stop gambling addiction
You can stop gambling addiction by using various methods, including some that you can apply yourself and some that include professional help. Keep on reading to find out more about gambling addiction, what you can do to stop it, who can help you, and what to do if a loved one is dealing with it!
What gambling addiction is and how to recognise it
Gambling addiction is a severe problem that affects around 350,000 people in the United Kingdom. According to the NHS statistics, only around 5% of people seek help. However, only 1% go through with it and get treatment for this addiction.
Untreated gambling addiction causes long-term physical and psychological harm
People who suffer from it have high chances of experiencing distress, anxiety, depression, migraine, and even intestinal disorders, among other issues.
Luckily for all British gamblers, it is very easy to recognise gambling addiction.
Common signs to look for:
- Inability to control your gambling;
- Obsession over any type of gambling activity;
- Lying to friends and family about your gambling habits;
- Making it a priority over other more important things such as your professional or social life;
- Selling possessions or loaning money to gamble;
- Neglecting responsibilities and bills to gamble;
- Resorting to this activity to feel better or overcome difficult personal situations.
There are many other signs and symptoms of gambling addiction, and if you cannot go through with the self-assessment, we advise you to see a professional for a correct diagnosis!
How to stop gambling addiction
There are many ways to stop gambling addiction, depending on how serious the problem is and how long you have been dealing with it.
CasinoAlpha comes to your aid!
Our gambling experts listed all the solutions you have to face and overcome this problem.
Self Help for gambling addiction
If you are worried you may be suffering from this addiction, it is a good idea to start with self-help.
Prevention is the key!
You may first attempt to stay in control of your gambling habits, but if that fails, you are not out of options.
Here are the ways in which you can stay away from gambling
Accept the problem and decide to stop
This may sound like not much of a solution, but it is, in fact, essential!
Accepting the problem may be difficult and take a lot of time for most problem gamblers. Then, once you realise you are dealing with this issue, deciding to stop may also come with difficulties.
Take some time to come to terms with this, but keep in mind that time is of the essence, and the sooner you start taking measures, the easier the recovery will be.
Avoid tempting environments
Once you have acknowledged and accepted your problem, the next step you can take towards stopping your gambling addiction is to avoid all tempting environments. These may vary depending on the type of gambling you used to engage in, but it is a good idea to avoid them all.
These may include:
- Any other events that would allow you to place bets
We advise you to
Avoid parties at which guests engage in table games such as Poker, Blackjack or others, at least for a while. Even if these are usually only for entertainment and often no real money bets are made, they may make you miss the thrill of gambling!
Let someone else handle your finances
Having around-the-clock access to money may hinder your progress in dealing with this problem.
To have an easier time staying away from gambling, we advise you to allow someone close, maybe a family member or a friend, to handle your finances.
It is also a good idea to set up automatic payments for your bills and avoid walking around with much cash. Also, you can set limits to your credit and debit cards to make sure you do not feel tempted to spend money on gambling.
Staying busy is important, and it may also help you enjoy life more. Whether you take on more responsibilities at your job, spend more time with friends, or enjoy your favourite hobbies, make sure you use your spare time for good things.
Did you know?
Boredom may lead to gambling, especially if you are a problem gambler.
This will not allow you to have time for gambling, and being immersed in other activities will keep your mind off of playing casino games.
Find new hobbies
Now that you have more spare time since you decided to give up gambling, it is good to find new hobbies!
Whether you go for sports, games, arts, or any other type of hobby, make sure it does not have any connection to gambling. This means if you do go for sports, make sure you stay away from sports betting and even friendly bets on matches outcomes.
This is a great way to start. Simply postpone gambling. Tell yourself you will do it tomorrow, and then notice how not gambling the previous day did not negatively affect you, so tell yourself you will do it tomorrow.
Here’s a simple two-step plan!
- In order for you to have an easier time overcoming this problem, we advise you to take it one day at a time.
- Keep this going for as long as you can, and you will notice how many days you have made it without playing.
Focus on your social life
Spending quality time with friends and family is very important when starting your journey to give up gambling!
Even more, you should also go out and meet new people.
Be very careful not to end up around people who engage in gambling activities, as this may cause you to relapse.
Cope with lapses
Dealing with an addiction is not easy, and it is not uncommon for casino players to relapse. If this happens to you, it does not mean you are not strong enough or do something wrong.
It is normal and what you can do in case this happens is to simply start over and refrain from playing. However, if this keeps on happening, it may mean you need some extra help as these self-help methods might not be enough for you!
Keep in mind that gambling may lead to losing money
Casinos have their own systems that are far from perfect. All casino games have a house edge, giving real meaning to the saying “The house always wins.”
This simply means that you are constantly losing money while playing casino games, and you may end up losing the entire budget. This is a good enough reason to stop and reminding yourself this every day may help you stay away from this activity.
A financial reminder!
Gambling is based on luck, which means that in a perfect system, you would have equal chances to lose your hard-earned money.
These self-help methods are great to start with, but if your addiction is more advanced or you have been dealing with it for a long time, you may want to pair these with professional help and maybe even medical treatment!
Gambling addiction treatment
If you have a hard time refraining from gambling yourself, it may mean the addiction is rather advanced, and you might need gambling addiction treatment.
Even if the problem is in its beginning, professionals advise starting treatment to have a better chance of success and quickly come back to a normal, healthy life.
You can receive many types of treatment, but this should always be recommended by a medical professional!
Common options that a professional might present you with:
This is always tailor-made for you by the professional you decide to work with!It may range from intensive treatment to group therapy. However, one type of therapy has shown significant improvement in treating gambling addiction, and this is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.
Through this, you can identify what makes you gamble, what your mental processes are while gambling, and by finding and addressing the roots of the problem, you can begin your recovery.
There is not one specific type of therapy that suits every person dealing with gambling addiction.
While joining a support group may be a personal decision rather than an actual treatment, this may also be recommended by the mental health professional.
How can it help you?
Coming together with people who share the same problem but have different experiences can be very helpful. You can be inspired by their stories and get the chance to share your own.
Also, having the support of people who completely understand your position can be very important for a quick recovery.
Your doctor may recommend over-the-counter or prescription medication to help you cope with giving up gambling!
Based on a study conducted by the University of Minnesota, experts have concluded that medication like naltrexone and others used in substance abuse positively impacts compulsive gamblers.
For players with low impulse control, substances that affect the prefrontal cortex are often recommended.
Avoid these missteps at all costs!
- You should only take medication your doctor recommends and always take it as prescribed.
- Never abuse them!
- If you feel like you need more, it is always best to check with the professional and not take more meds than you should.
Residential inpatient treatment centre
A good option to focus on your recovery without worrying about day-to-day life is to join a residential inpatient treatment centre.
You will benefit from 24/7 care, medical and psychological supervision, therapeutic activities, and treatment for associated disorders, among others.
Some are even luxury facilities, offering you a vacation-like atmosphere with amenities such as hot tub, massages, and fun activities.
Outpatient gambling rehab
These facilities allow you to benefit from the programs the inpatient treatment centres offer but personalised to your schedule and life.
This is a good option for full-time workers!
You may not be able to spend time away from home or your job, so this should be a suitable option for you. They have fully trained staff and programs that can be customised to your gambling addiction needs.
Treating underlying conditions
Gambling addiction does not come by itself but rather has some underlying conditions that facilitate its evolution!
These often include:
- Substance abuse
If you suffer from any of these, treating them simultaneously as your gambling addiction is a very good idea. Doing this will also help you feel better a lot sooner and ensure you a greater chance of success in overcoming this addiction!
If neither inbound nor outbound patient treatment centres are good options for you, a 12-step program might be.
Whether you go for Gamblers Anonymous or any other such program, you will be able to build a helpful support network.
What about their schedule?
Meetings for this program usually happen more times per week, but you can choose when to attend based on your personal and work schedule. They can be a great addition to your efforts to stop gambling and, paired with other recovery methods, they can be very effective.
Organisations that help you with gambling addiction
There are plenty of trustworthy organisations in the United Kingdom that can help you treat your gambling addiction.
If you are worried, you might be suffering from this, or you know for sure but do not know where to start your recovery, we are here to help.
These are some of the best organisations you can reach out to and count on:
This organisation provides all the British gamblers with the National Gambling Helpline, and it was founded in 1997.
It focuses on:
- Emotional support
- Further resources.
Their services are available 24/7, so you can reach out via their Live Chat or phone number at 0808 8020 133.
Also, you have access to chatrooms and an online forum on their website if you wish to share your experience and find support and guidance.
You can even opt for a face-to-face treatment in various locations through their partner agencies around Great Britain.
This non-governmental organisation is among the most well-known ones when it comes to helping problem gamblers.
It offers a free online self-exclusion program
This means that they can help you restrict your access to online gambling activities. For this to be possible, you have to sign up and offer them information such as current and previous addresses and postcodes, date of birth, and current and previous email addresses and phone numbers. After registration, you get all the tools and resources to self-exclude.
How can you reach out to them?
You may check out their website, write an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, use the live chat from 10 am to 8 pm, or call 0800 138 6518 in the same timeframe.
This specialised group focuses on providing all British gamblers with online therapy.
Here, you have the chance to talk to someone about:
- What you are going through
- What your challenges with gambling addiction are
- What your feelings are
They have an app, or you can check them out on social media such as Facebook and Twitter. You can also head over to their website and choose any of the options we have mentioned above.
They offer multilingual live support, online support groups, email support and forums.
They offer information, resources, and guidance to both players who are suffering from gambling addiction and those who simply want to learn more about safe gambling.
They redirect you to the National Gambling Helpline, but they also have plenty to offer themselves
Aside from this helpline which you can call at 0808 8020 133, you can also chat with their advisors via live chat. Optionally, you may find out more about them on social media channels such as Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
Founded in 1987, this agency has helped more than 40,000 people overcome and deal with both gambling and substance addiction, as well as mental health issues.
They do this through workshops focused on:
- Educating young people
- Structured treatment
- Online and offline support groups
- Housing support
This GamCare partner can be contacted via phone at 0330 1340 286 or by email at email@example.com.
How we help you further?
These are only some of the agencies and organisations ready to lend a helping hand to all gamblers, whether they are suffering from gambling addiction or not.
Regardless of what your situation is, you should check them out! You have plenty of helpful information to get from them and learn how to be in control of your gaming activities.
We have a complete list of responsible gambling institutions in the UK that you can turn to in times of need or just for some advice and information.
Apps to stop gambling addiction
Since online and mobile gambling has become more popular in the last years, you now have the option to get apps that can help you control your gambling, restrict it, or reach out for advice and support.
Gambling Therapy app is an excellent choice!
Here are more options for you to choose from:
|No.||App||What it offers||Operating system|
|1.||The Gamban App||Blocks access to all gambling sites||Windows, Mac, Android, iOS|
|2.||Addiction Avert App||Uses Rational Emotive Behavioural Therapy (REBT) to help you identify what triggers you to gamble as well as examine and dispute irrational beliefs that are associated with those triggers.||Android, iOS|
|3.||Online Gambling Addiction App||Helps you permanently exclude yourself from 202 gambling websites and provides additional resources for problem gamblers in the United Kingdom, Europe, and Ireland.||Android|
|4.||My Gamblers Anonymous Toolkit App||Supports your recovery from gambling addiction through Gratitude List, GA Abstinence Birthday Calculator, Recovery Journal, Spot-Check Inventories, and more.||iOS|
How to help someone stop gambling
People who are suffering from gambling addiction need emotional support from their close ones.
It may be the case that not you, but someone in your family or a close friend is dealing with this problem.
Here is what you can do to be helpful:
Have the conversation
The first thing you need to do as soon as you notice a loved one has a gambling problem is to talk to them about it.
The sooner, the better.
You need to remember two key factors:
- Make sure the conversation is non-confrontational and focus on finding out more about what is going on, how long they have been engaging in this, and what their current position is.
- Listen to what they have to say and try not to be judgemental.
Admitting they have a problem is often times the most challenging part, so do not pressure them into doing it. Instead, create a safe space for them to open up and talk calmly about it.
Offer them support
What your loved one needs in this situation most is support, especially from the people they care about.
Here are your best strategies:
- During the conversation, let them know you are 100% behind them and that you are willing to support them through their recovery.
- Be ready to offer constructive advice and guide them towards any of the options we have presented above to quit gambling.
Do not blame yourself
Depending on the nature of your relationship with the person suffering from gambling addiction, you may find yourself in the position of blaming yourself for the problem.
Keep in mind
You cannot force them to acknowledge their problem or proceed to stop it. You can try to help, but do not forget that the only person who can fix the problem is the gambler themselves.
Prepare yourself to face the problem
Yoping with a friend or family member’s gambling addiction can be exhausting. You may often notice you are preoccupied with their problems more than with yours, you may overextend yourself or even try and fix the problem for them.
Make sure you offer as much help as you can without ignoring your own needs and responsibilities!
You can still make a difference, but at the end of the day, they should put in the most effort.
Treating gambling addiction is not easy nor fast!
The time needed to overcome it varies from one gambler to another and strongly depends on how advanced the problem is.
What not to do?
Do not blame the gambler for not fixing it faster, and do not expect overnight improvements. Sometimes, they may even relapse.
Be patient and allow them to go through this process while continually supporting them to stop!
Manage their finances
You may have to manage your friend or family member’s finances during this difficult time. It may be an extra responsibility for you, but it can help a lot.
By doing this, you give them the space to focus on recovery and keep them away from temptation.
Gambling addiction is a severe problem that can negatively impact any gambler’s personal and professional life as well as their finances.
Use the advice and tips we provide you with to begin your treatment, take self-help measures, and reach out to professional help whenever you feel like you need it.
Even if you are not addicted to gambling, these organisations and resources can help you avoid that, create a healthy gambling habit, and always be in control.