Gambling is a fun activity for many people, but it can also be a problem. If you think you have a gambling problem, it’s important to get help as soon as possible. It can damage your health, relationships, studies and performance at work, leave you in debt and lead to homelessness.
Benefits of gambling
Gambling can have positive effects on your health and well-being, including reducing stress, improving your mood, promoting socialization and stimulating the development of new brain cells. But it can also cause harm if you don’t have the right strategies or support to prevent it from getting out of hand.
There are several ways to stay safe when gambling, whether it’s at a casino or online. Set money and time limits in advance, never gamble when you are under stress or haven’t eaten for a while, and be honest with yourself about how much you are spending and when you are winning and losing.
Strengthen your support network
It can be hard to fight an addiction on your own, but you may have more success if you have friends and family who can support you. Try reaching out to colleagues at work, joining a sports team or book club, enrolling in an education class, or volunteering for a good cause.
Learn to self-soothe unpleasant feelings in healthier ways
The release of the hormones serotonin and dopamine can reduce the production of cortisol, a natural stress hormone that triggers feelings of tension, anxiety and irritation. Gambling can also stimulate the development of nerve connections in your brain, which can help keep your brain healthy and improve your memory.
Make new friends through gambling
Gambling is a great way to socialize and meet new people, and it can help you find a friend who shares your interests. But it can also be a source of boredom and loneliness, so it’s important to make sure you’re gambling in an environment that will keep you feeling connected.
Avoid the lure of large jackpots
If you win big money from gambling, it can be tempting to continue to play even after you’ve spent all of your savings. This is called “chasing losses” and it can be a sign that you’re not managing your gambling responsibly.
Stopping early is one of the most effective ways to combat your problem. Often, the only way to stop is to give up on gambling entirely. This can be a difficult challenge, but it’s worth trying.
Limit the amount you can lose and the time you spend gambling. When you’re playing responsibly, you won’t be tempted to go back and start gambling again after you’ve lost.
Refrain from chasing your losses
A common mistake that problem gamblers make is to chase their losses, hoping to win big. This can result in larger losses and a greater risk of problems, including debt, family separation, and mental illness.
Don’t let yourself be influenced by others who gamble excessively, either at the casino or online. If you feel like someone in your life is gambling too much, talk to them and ask them if they can stop.