Wondering how to prevent a gambling addiction relapse can be a tight spot to be. Today, a lot of people in the world today struggle with a gambling addiction. According to the stats, five out of every hundred gamblers have some form of gambling addiction. These numbers are staggering when you think about it. Thankfully, gambling addiction treatment centres are becoming more popular in Canada. However, getting treatment is not the end of your addiction to gambling. You must know how to make sure you don’t gamble again.
Although relapse is a common part of any addiction recovery, you do not have to go through it. In light of this, you need to include some tips on how to prevent a gambling addiction relapse in your recovery arsenal. In this article, we will give you some proven steps to help you avoid a gambling addiction relapse. Before diving into these relapse prevention tips, let us first examine what gambling addiction is in its entirety.
What is a Gambling Addiction?
A gambling addiction, also called problem gambling, is an impulse-control disorder that has so many negative repercussions. Let us break it down a bit. Gambling is when an individual risks something of value in the hope of getting something of even higher value. Addiction is the inability to stop doing something even when it is causing physical or psychological harm. Therefore, gambling addiction is the uncontrollable urge to gamble despite its unfavourable effects on one’s life.
Contrary to popular belief, gambling addiction is, in fact, similar to substance addiction. Gambling stimulates the brain’s reward system and causes it to release dopamine. This is the ‘pleasure’ neurotransmitter in the brain. Addictive activities like gambling can cause the brain to release up to 10 times the usual amount of dopamine. So with continuous gambling, the body begins to develop tolerance as the natural production of dopamine is affected. The body then needs more and more of the stimulating activity (gambling) to be able to receive the same rush.
Over time, the gambler needs to put in more money, increase the stakes, take more significant risks to feel the same pleasure they used to. So, gambling addiction is born. However, you must note that not every gambler becomes addicted. But, for those that do, it is a very severe condition, and it is vital that they get gambling addiction treatment. Here are some common signs of problem gambling.
- Having an obsessive preoccupation with gambling
- Having a compulsive need to up the stakes to get the same thrill
- Unsuccessfully trying to quit gambling
- Feeling irritable or uneasy when unable to gamble
- Attempting to recoup losses by more gambling
- Sacrificing meaningful relationships or activities in favour of gambling
- Resorting to theft or fraud to get money for gambling
If you have experienced any three of the above signs, you may need help with how to stop gambling. However, if you have gone through treatment for your gambling addiction, you need to learn how to preserve your recovery. Read further to find out how to prevent a gambling addiction relapse.
Related article: A Brief History of Gambling: How People Started Gambling
Tips To Help You Prevent a Gambling Addiction Relapse
Gambling addiction treatment is the first and most crucial step to living a life free from problem gambling. However, that is not all. You have to do all you can to prevent a relapse of your gambling addiction. Here are a couple of ways you can make sure that you don’t gamble again.
Identify your triggers
If you want to prevent a gambling addiction relapse, you must know the possible things that can push you to gamble. Once you know these triggers, you can then work on better ways of managing them that do not involve gambling. Triggers may range from emotions to stress, tiredness or even specific places and people. If you can, it may be better to avoid things that may trigger your gambling impulses rather than manage the aftereffects of the trigger.
Avoid being lonely
One of the most vital tips to avoid a gambling addiction relapse is never to be isolated. In a time where online gambling is just a few strokes of your fingers away, it is essential that you do not isolate yourself. If you feel the urge to gamble, call up a trusted family member to hang out or meet up with a close friend for coffee. Another alternative is to attend a Gamblers Anonymous meeting. The trick is never to be lonely enough for your urges to take over.
Delay the decision
This essentially means that you post the decision to gamble long enough that the craving subsides. If you are wondering how to make sure you don’t gamble again, this may be the way to go. Delaying the decision to gamble may give you enough time to gain control and suppress the urge. For instance, you can tell yourself that you will wait for an hour. A lot of people find that the urge to gamble may pass or subside enough to overcome it as time passes.
Set a goal that you can achieve if you don’t gamble
Setting a goal that you can accomplish if you stop gambling is another way to help you preserve your recovery. However, you must make sure that it is a goal that you are genuinely interested in achieving. This way, you have another thing to reinforce your decision to prevent a gambling addiction relapse. Here are a couple of goals you can set to help yourself stay true to your gambling addiction recovery.
If I don’t gamble,
- I will have more money to put toward going on a vacation
- I will be able to pay bills comfortably
- I will be able to afford a new car
- I will make my family proud
- I will have more substantial savings
- Do not try to recoup your losses
The temptation to recover your losses can be fierce, particularly if you are struggling with finances after treatment. But, you mustn’t gamble to try and get lost money back. For instance, if you are unable to pay your bills, gambling to get money may seem like the right decision. It is not. You have to do way with these thoughts by remembering how you developed a gambling addiction in the first place.
Pick up a new hobby
Finally, if you want to prevent a relapse into your gambling habits, then you will benefit from having a new hobby. Whenever you are bored, whenever you feel the urge to gamble, your new hobby will be your go-to. New hobbies are perfect distractions to help you make sure you do not gamble again. Also, you may benefit from rearranging your routine to fill your previous gambling periods with healthier habits.
Dealing with gambling addiction relapses can be tough. The best option you have is to do all you can to prevent a relapse in the first place. Hopefully, the above tips will help you in your decision not to gamble again. However, if a relapse does happen, it is not the end of your gambling addiction recovery journey. You can pick up the pieces and come back stronger. However, it helps to speak with an addiction expert.
Do you have further questions about how to prevent a gambling addiction relapse? Or perhaps you are wondering how to stop gambling? Please reach out to us. Call 1-855-787-2424 to speak with a gambling addiction expert today!
Related article: What are the Dangers of Gambling Addiction?