Whether you’re betting on an online slot or in the real world, gambling addiction is a serious problem that can have devastating effects on your life. It is not only financially harmful, but it also creates a vicious cycle of cravings and compulsions. The first step to overcoming problem gambling is acknowledging that it’s not worth it monetarily. Then, you’ll have to face the emotional challenge of balancing the rational side of your brain with the craves and illusions of control associated with gambling.
While it’s not easy to stop gambling, there are many ways you can combat the urges. One way to do this is to place barriers between yourself and the addictive behavior. For example, if you find yourself feeling the need to gamble, try taking a different route home or finding social support in areas of your day when you usually experience these impulses. Another option is to download an app like Bet Blocker or Gameban that blocks gambling websites on your computer or phone. You can even go a step further and get a non-smartphone or buy a mobile that doesn’t have internet access so you’ll be forced to use your willpower to resist gambling.
Gambling can be addictive because it triggers a burst of dopamine, our natural reward chemical. Dopamine is the same chemical that gets triggered when we level up in a video game or when we get a “like” on our Facebook post. Getting rid of these rewards can be extremely difficult and many heavy gamblers will blame themselves for their inability to stop. However, the truth is that the addiction is much more powerful than their own willpower.
There are also a number of online and offline resources that can help you fight your gambling addiction. For example, GamCare’s gambling self-assessment tools, financial management help, and free helplines are all available in the UK. While Lifeline offers all Australians free resources ranging from fact sheets to helplines. In addition, there are a variety of treatment programs that specialize in gambling addiction.
Ultimately, the decision to stop gambling comes down to how important your quality of life is to you. While it may be hard to quantify, if you know how much it’s costing you in terms of time and money, it’s time to put an end to the unhealthy behavior. This will make it easier to take the next steps, such as implementing treatment and setting healthy boundaries. Just remember that quitting cold turkey is seldom a good idea as it can cause withdrawal symptoms and willpower issues. Instead, try to implement gradual changes and be patient. Gambling addiction is a complex problem that can change the makeup of your brain and requires professional help to overcome. This is why many gamblers turn to a treatment program like Algamus. This will give you a better chance of overcoming your addiction and moving on with your life. Thanks to the help of professionals, you can start to build a new and healthier lifestyle.