How to Stop Gambling

Gambling is an activity that involves risking money or material valuables on something whose outcome is determined by chance. It can include betting on a football match or scratchcard, or placing bets on games of chance such as lottery draws and card games. It also includes speculating on business, insurance and stock markets.

For some, gambling becomes a problem when they start losing control. This is often due to underlying mood disorders such as depression, stress or substance abuse, which are often made worse by compulsive gambling. However, a person may also develop a gambling problem for other reasons. It could be that they have a desire to experience the rush of winning, which is similar to the feeling of taking drugs or alcohol. In addition, they can become addicted to the euphoria that is caused by throwing the dice or pulling the lever of a slot machine, which causes a change in brain chemistry.

People may begin to gamble for coping reasons, because it allows them to escape from their problems and forget their worries for a short while. This can be a dangerous cycle, as the person may need to gamble more and more to feel the same rush. It is also important to remember that your loved one did not choose to get hooked on gambling and they likely do not realise how their behaviour has changed.

The first step to stopping gambling is for the individual to take a decision not to. It is then a case of setting limits and sticking to them, avoiding credit cards or having someone else be in charge of their finances, closing online betting accounts, and making sure they have only a small amount of cash with them when they go out. They should also try to avoid chasing their losses, as this will only make them lose more money in the long run.

Another key element in preventing gambling is to have other activities that are rewarding, such as spending time with friends and family. It is also a good idea to get plenty of exercise, and to eat well. Avoid gambling when you are depressed or upset, as this will only make the problem worse.

Getting help is essential. It is a good idea to talk to a professional, and to find a support group, such as Gamblers Anonymous which follows a 12-step program and has helped many people overcome their addiction. It can also be useful to join a family support group, as this will enable you to discuss your concerns with others who have the same issue and provide helpful advice. Having a strong support network will also help you to stay motivated in your recovery and to resist temptations to gamble. You will find that your support system can provide a much-needed boost when you are trying to stop gambling, as they can remind you of all the other things that are important in life.