Gambling can be a great way to unwind and relax, but it shouldn’t become a problem. There are ways to reduce the harm it can cause and learn to enjoy gambling again in a safe environment.
It’s easy to get caught up in a cycle of gambling, so if you are worried about your own or a loved one’s behaviour, talk to someone who can help. They may be able to give you advice or support, and they can tell you where to go for help.
If you are new to gambling, start with small amounts of money that you can afford to lose. This will help you to decide how much you want to gamble and set boundaries for yourself.
Set limits in advance and stop when you reach them. This is better than letting your gambling take over and then having to give up.
Don’t lie about the amount you spend or hide evidence of your gambling – if you do this, it will make it harder to change your habits.
Know why you are gambling – understanding your motivations can help you to avoid harmful behaviours and find healthier alternatives.
The most common reasons people gamble are for mood change and the fantasy of winning a big prize, but it can also be a way to relieve unpleasant emotions. If you are having problems with your mental health, talk to a specialist GP or a counsellor about how gambling may be impacting on your wellbeing.
Having fun and socialising with friends can be good for your mental health. But if gambling becomes too much, it can interfere with your relationship and lead to depression or other mental health issues.
Gambling can be a problem for anyone, regardless of their age. Young people can be more vulnerable to it because they are less aware of the risks and don’t understand the potential harms.
If you are having trouble controlling your gambling, speak to a counsellor or a therapist who can support you. They can work with you to find a treatment or support plan that is right for you.
Be honest with yourself about how much you are spending on gambling – don’t make it up, or tell anyone else that you are saving the money for a holiday! This will weaken your resolve to control your behaviour and could lead to bigger losses in the future.
Keep track of your spending – set a budget and stick to it. This will ensure that you don’t overspend, and that your bank account doesn’t fall into debt.
Keeping control of your finances is important for your mental and physical health. Getting rid of your credit cards, having your bank make automatic payments for you, closing online betting accounts, and having a fixed amount of cash on you will help to keep you in control.
Seek help if you are having trouble controlling your gambling and it is causing serious harm to yourself or your family. They will be able to support you and provide advice, including contacting the authorities if necessary.