Has gambling become a problem for you?

When enjoyed responsibly, gambling can be a fun form of entertainment. But if it gets out of control, it can start to cause problems in your life and relationships.

We hope this advice helps if you’re having a hard time keeping your gambling under control and want to know how to stop yourself from gambling.

 

Recognise Risky Behaviours

Knowing the common signs of problem gambling can help you keep an eye on your gambling habits.

Some signs your gambling might be unhealthy include:

  • Arguing with family and friends after gambling
  • Borrowing money or selling assets to gamble
  • Considering getting money to gamble through illegal means
  • Feeling guilty about gambling
  • Gambling to escape your problems or feelings
  • Hiding the extent of your gambling
  • Losing and having an urge to return as soon as possible to win back losses
  • Missing work or social events to gamble
  • Spending more time or money gambling than planned.

 

Know Your Triggers

Take note of the people, places, and activities that trigger your gambling urges, and what you can do to avoid gambling in that situation. You might like to keep a table like this:

Trigger Thoughts Feelings Coping Strategy
Going to the pub with a workmate We usually have a few beers and go on the pokies Nervous, worried Plan a different activity away from a gambling venue

 

Delay

Urges come in waves and will eventually pass.

If you feel an urge to gamble, try to delay the decision to give in. Instead of gambling as soon as you feel the desire, try to wait at least half an hour. If you’re feeling OK, try waiting another half an hour, and so on.

Delaying your gambling provides a chance for the urge to pass.

 

Distract

Gambling urges can be overwhelming. It might feel like gambling is all you can think about.

Start by taking some deep breaths and trying to relax, then do something to take your mind off gambling. Distracting yourself with other activities can help you remove yourself from the experience of a craving and engage in something else.

For example, you might like to go for a walk, watch a TV show, call a friend, or take a shower or bath.

 

Fill Your Days

Boredom can be a breeding ground for gambling urges.

Plan ahead and keep yourself busy and fulfilled to avoid boredom. Sitting around might increase your risk of giving in to gambling to stimulate your brain, so fill your days with things you enjoy.

Find some fulfilling interests and hobbies, maintain your friendships, and focus on self-development.

 

Remember Your ‘Why’

Don’t lose sight of why you want to reduce your gambling. Is it impacting your relationships? Your work? Your mental health? Is it getting in the way of your financial goals?

It can help to keep a list of the reasons why you made the decision to take action, as well as the things you could achieve if you changed unhealthy habits. Read your list every time you feel an urge to gamble.

 

Seek Professional Help

If you need some extra support to fight gambling urges, help is available.

You can learn about our counselling options here, or call the free and confidential Gambling Help QLD helpline on 1800 858 858.

You can find more self-help tips here.