Can Alcohol Withdrawals Kill You?

How to Stop Gambling Addiction

Sivana Bali is a world-class treatment centre in Canggu, Bali. Here, we treat a variety of substance abuse disorders, co-occurring mental illnesses, and process addiction disorders such as sex addiction, gaming addiction, and gambling addiction.

What Is Gambling Addiction?

A gambling addiction is the compulsive need to gamble. This is not the act of gambling itself. Plenty of people can go to a casino, play a round or two on the slot machine or a hand of cards, and then stop when the house inevitably wins. A gambling addiction is when a person can’t stop – they have a compulsive need to gamble. They feel compelled to continue gambling, even if it means risking all their money and savings on the next hand or bet.

It doesn’t even matter if they win. Take roulette, for example, a game in which a person can win up to 35 or 36 times their original bet depending on whether they’re playing by American or European rules. If a gambling addict beats the odds and secures a windfall, they likely won’t be able to stop. A roulette table could make a gambler rich enough to support many generations, but they’ll still crave more.

In fact, winning every now and then can be problematic for an individual with a gambling addiction because it reinforces the behaviour and encourages a gambler to keep gambling.

What Causes People to Develop a Gambling Problem

There are many reasons that a person can develop a gambling addiction. Some people are genetically inclined to addiction, and their vice just happens to be gambling instead of drugs or alcohol.

It’s already been mentioned that winning can encourage a gambler to keep on gambling, but it can also be the start of a gambling addiction as well. One win, even small, can encourage a person to keep playing under the belief that since they already one once, they can win again.

Mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression can cause gambling addiction, as some people can gamble as a means of coping with their symptoms.

The Consequences of Gambling Addiction

Gambling may have serious consequences, the most obvious of which is that a person can ruin themselves financially. It’s not uncommon for an individual to accumulate exorbitant amounts of debt that they might not be able to pay off. This can result in them losing their house and savings and seriously straining their relationships with family and friends.

Another consequence that a gambler can have is to their physical health. Some gamblers can go to loan sharks or bookies, people who may operate on the fringes of legality and may not have a problem getting physical to collect their debts. 

While some forms of gambling, like buying lottery tickets or playing slot machines, can seem relatively harmless, gambling addiction of any kind can cause serious mental health concerns, increase stress and anxiety and cause a person to develop feelings of guilt or shame.

How To Tell if It’s an Addiction or if They Just Like Gambling

There are many people out there who don’t believe that they have a gambling disorder. They may place large sums of money on bets, but they don’t think they’re gambling. Many people are under the impression that they can game the system and figure out a way to place bets so that they win more often than not, in effect becoming no different than those who speculate on the stock market. 

Many individuals also gamble by playing the lottery. They think it’s harmless. After all, the cost of a lottery ticket is probably a spare change to most people, but the potential windfall can be life-changing. 

The above behaviours are gambling, and there are many people who can place bets or buy lottery tickets without having a gambling addiction. But when they are unable to control their urge to gamble and find themselves in emotional distress because they can’t place a bet or buy a ticket, then that is a serious problem. That is when someone has a problem gambling.

How To Treat Compulsive Gambling

Many people who gamble cannot stop, even if they want to. That’s a hallmark of addiction, the desire to keep going even if you know or are already suffering the consequences. But there are a few ways in which an individual can take control of their gambling behaviour. Here’s how a person with a gambling addiction can change their behaviour:

Acknowledge It

Too many people who have a gambling addiction do not acknowledge that it’s a problem. They think that because they’re not putting anything harmful into their bodies and because gambling is legal, they’re not hurting anyone. But it is a problem, and acknowledging that it is such is the first step in beginning treatment.

Seek Professional Help

Often, one of the most important tools in breaking an addiction is getting therapy, either by finding a support group or going to a centre that has a specialised plan to treat gambling addiction. Professional intervention can help individuals understand the root cause of their addiction and learn healthier ways to cope with stress or difficult emotions, both of which are triggers for self-destructive behaviours like pathological gambling.

Therapeutic modalities such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) have proven effective at identifying and changing the thought patterns that can lead to behaviours such as drinking, doing drugs, and gambling.

Individual Counselling

Individual counselling can be incredibly important for gambling addicts. Not only does it provide a safe space for addicts to talk about their addiction without fear of judgment, but many addicts can also learn to set goals for themselves in counselling. Having long-term goals to strive towards can be vital for gamblers as it gives them something to focus on instead of placing another bet.

Group Therapy

Group therapy can also play an important role in helping people regain control of their impulses and avoid gambling. It provides a space where people who have had similar struggles can connect with each other, and there may be some people there who are further along in their recovery and provide an example to others.

The connections made in a support group can also be invaluable, as a strong support network is crucial to helping someone break free of any addiction.

Establish Boundaries

A major way to curb a gambling habit is to prevent someone from being able to gamble. This means blocking access to online gambling sites.

In severe cases wherein a gambler can’t trust themselves, they may hand over control of their finances to someone they trust, like a friend, relative or financial advisor, to limit a compulsive gambler’s access to the money that they need to gamble.

Compulsive gamblers also need to remain vigilant and avoid anything that could trigger them. Even a small bet made with friends could trigger a gamble and significantly reduce their recovery.

Don’t Make a Bad Bet On Your Future; Choose Us to Treat Your Gambling Addiction

Gambling is a game of chance; there’s no way to control how the dice will land or what card will come next. But what’s not left to chance is how a gambling addiction can ruin lives. People have lost houses, retirement funds, and savings all because of the need to place one more bet.

If you have to make one bet, then bet on yourself. Bet on your recovery. Contact us now and we’ll help you make sure it’s the last bet you ever make.

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