Gambling has become a problem when it's hard for you to stop. When you spend more money than you have and it begins to adversely affect your physical or mental wellness, academic or job performance, financial stability, and relationships with other people.
Gambling addicts may run up huge credit card bills, borrow a lot of money, and completely ignore their home, work, or school obligations. They might refuse to admit they have a massive issue, keep chasing their losses, and put gambling ahead of every other aspect of their lives, even themselves.
The first and the most important step to getting better from compulsive gambling is to realize that you have a problem. It takes a lot of courage and willpower to admit this, especially if your money is gone and your personal connections are lost.
Do not lose hope, and do not attempt to tackle this situation alone. Many people have been in your shoes and were able to give up their bad habits and move on with their lives. You, too, can do it.
Does gambling give you something to do when you're by yourself or bored? Or when you've had a fight with your partner or a particularly hard day at work? To gamble responsibly, you should only gamble for fun and relaxation, not as a way to escape problems.
But working out, hanging out with friends who don't gamble, trying out new hobbies, and learning how to relax are better and smarter ways to deal with your feelings and beat boredom.
If you can't stop gambling on your own, ask for help from people you care about. If you live alone and want to make friends, you don't have to go to casinos or use the internet. Talk to your coworkers, join a sports team or a book club, take a class, or help others. It's even better to get help from a professional.
Other groups can help. For example, Gamblers Anonymous uses a 12-step plan to help people stop being addicted to gambling. Finding a "sponsor" who is a former gambler who has maintained sobriety and can provide you with invaluable guidance and support is an essential component of the program.