How to Prevent Gambling Addiction


Gambling is an activity in which a person risks money or other assets. There are many forms of gambling including sports betting, poker, lotteries and other games of chance. Some people are addicted to gambling and seek treatment for it.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) defines gambling as an addiction. Individuals who have a gambling problem may continue to gamble despite negative consequences, such as losing money or failing to fulfill their financial obligations. They may also have problems with other areas of their life, such as work or relationships.

In the United States, there are over 2 million gambling-related problems. This means that one out of every 100 people suffers from some form of gambling.

There are some tips that can help you prevent gambling-related problems. These include:

Set Limits on Your Gambling Time and Don’t Chase Losses

When you first start gambling, try to set limits on how much money you can afford to lose. For example, don’t allow yourself to use credit cards to gamble, and make it a personal rule not to borrow from friends or family members to fund your gambling habits.

Keep a Gambling Journal

The best way to stop gambling is to track your spending and monitor your losses. This helps you see if you are getting out of control and can help you recognize your patterns of behavior that lead to gambling addiction.

Postpone Your Gambling When You Need to Take a Break

When you feel the urge to gamble, tell yourself that you will wait for a certain amount of time or a specific period. This gives you time to think about your situation and decide whether to give in to the temptation or resist it.

Become a Stronger Supporter

Strengthening your support network is an important part of the process of overcoming any addiction. You can do this by reaching out to your friends, family and coworkers or attending a self-help group for families like Gam-Anon.

Consider Using Cognitive Therapy for Gambling Addiction

Cognitive therapy is a type of counseling that helps individuals to understand and change their negative thinking patterns related to gambling. It can help you to overcome the irrational beliefs that cause your gambling addiction.

Counseling can also focus on your career and relationships. It can help you to learn how to manage your gambling in a positive manner and develop a balanced lifestyle that includes both gambling and other enjoyable activities.

Invest in a Support Network

A large portion of problem gamblers are isolated and lonely. They are often reluctant to admit to their friends and family that they are addicted to gambling. But it’s important to recognize that denial can only lead to further addiction and a less healthy lifestyle.

Inpatient and residential treatment programs are available for those who have a severe addiction to gambling. These programs offer round-the-clock care and are geared toward treating all aspects of an addict’s life, not just the gambling.