The glitz and glamour of online slots can lure compulsive gamblers into a dangerous game with hefty financial stakes. Problem gambling can eat away at relationships, interfere with work, and cause devastating financial ruin. The symptoms are similar to those of drug addiction and can even be fatal if left untreated. This is why it’s essential to seek help as soon as you notice signs of a gambling problem. Fortunately, there are many resources available to help you break the gambling cycle and recover from your addiction.
Gambling problems can affect anyone from any background, whether you bet on sports, scratch cards, roulette, poker, or slots in a casino, at the track, or online. The key to recovery is to understand that the problem stems from an underlying chemical imbalance in your brain. Whether the trigger is anxiety, depression, or stress, gambling becomes a way to relieve your symptoms and get a temporary fix of dopamine. This is why it’s so important to find a therapist who can help you address the underlying issue and prevent relapse.
Online gambling is one of the fastest-growing forms of addiction in the world. This is because of the convenience, availability, and social pressure to keep playing. It can also be very easy to fall into a pattern of playing without realizing it until you are hundreds of dollars deep in debt. In fact, new research has linked non-drug behavioral addictions, such as gambling, to the same brain changes found in people who suffer from substance abuse.
While the idea of quitting online gambling can feel daunting, it is possible with the right tools. One of the most effective tools is an app like Freedom that blocks dangerous websites for as long as you choose. You can set recurring block sessions so you won’t be able to access gambling websites at times when you are most susceptible, or even all the time. This eliminates the need to use willpower every time you are tempted, which can be exhausting and counterproductive.
Another helpful tool is to remove yourself from the environment in which you are most likely to gamble. This may mean driving a different route home after work, watching a different television show than usual, or cutting up your credit cards. It is also a good idea to avoid spending time with friends and family members who are known to gamble. This can be difficult, but it will make it much harder to succumb to the urges.
Finally, if you have a casino in your area, it is a good idea to ask to be put on their banned list. This will reduce your exposure to gambling ads and keep you from being tempted by slot machines while at the casino. This is done on a national and state-by-state basis, but it’s worth the effort if you are serious about breaking your gambling habit. For additional resources, please check out GamCare’s support and treatment page and Lifeline’s Problem Gambling page.