Whether it’s buying a lottery ticket, placing a bet on the race track or using the pokies, gambling can be addictive. Often, it is not only money that is lost but also friends and relationships. If you are finding yourself losing control, seek help.
A common misconception about gambling is that winning can make you money. However, the truth is that you will most likely lose more than you win. This is because the odds are stacked against you. It is important to realise this before you start gambling and to only gamble with disposable income, rather than money that needs to be saved for bills or rent.
It is difficult to stop gambling once you have started, but there are steps that you can take to reduce the chances of it happening. Try to stay away from casinos or online betting sites. Instead, choose an alternative form of entertainment, such as going to a movie. You could also try volunteering or joining a book club. You may even want to join a support group such as Gamblers Anonymous, which follows a twelve-step program similar to that of Alcoholics Anonymous.
The underlying problem with many of these treatments is that they are based on eclectic theoretic conceptualizations of pathological gambling, and they have only a limited amount of empirical evidence behind them. This is probably a large part of why they are so ineffective. In addition, they fail to address a number of issues that are critical for a successful treatment of gambling disorders.
For example, many people gamble as a way to escape their problems or feel better about themselves. This can be especially true if you have a mental health condition like depression or anxiety. If you are feeling depressed or anxious, it’s worth speaking to a GP or a counsellor. If you’re in debt, you can also contact StepChange for free, confidential advice.
A problem with gambling is most commonly associated with poor financial management. The most effective strategy to improve your finances is to spend less than you earn. This includes avoiding credit cards, having someone else manage your money and closing online betting accounts. You should also keep only a small amount of cash on you at all times, and only use that money for gambling purposes.
It is also a good idea to stick with games that you understand, as this will help you manage your bankroll more effectively. It’s best to avoid complicated, high-risk games, as the likelihood of you winning is low. In fact, you should expect to lose most of the time, so only gamble with money that you can afford to lose and consider it an entertainment expense. If you have more than enough disposable income, it’s a good idea to put some of it aside for gambling and save the rest. This will prevent you from spending more than you have, and it will also make you more realistic about your winnings.