Take A Break From Gambling: Effective Tools And Strategies
Gambling can be highly addictive but is not considered a drug for legal or medical purposes. Find out how to overcome your gambling addiction here. Canada is a leader in the online gambling industry, with 19.3 million Canadians gambling on a regular basis. To further understand online gambling addiction and tips you can implement in your everyday life to finally experience financial freedom.
Understanding Online Gambling Addiction
To stop a potential or current gambling addiction, it’s important to first understand what the addiction entails. Gamblers tend to be unable to stop their addiction because of the dopamine rush that occurs every time they hit a jackpot or place a bet. Online gambling seriously affects brain chemistry, and provides the reward of instant gratification and the need to level up.
Another factor of online gambling addiction is accessibility – instead of making a trip to the casino, you can get credits or virtual rewards playing any game right on your phone or computer. It is extremely easy to access poker games, sports betting apps, or online casinos where the pace of the games are accelerated and the dopamine rushes make the addiction a struggle to overcome.
To understand online gambling addiction, you must understand gambling temptations, join support groups that are available, find positive alternatives to your gambling cravings, and hopefully stay away from it for good.
Gambling Addiction Signs and Symptoms
Gamblers will often deny that they have a problem, or minimize the problem itself because it is a hidden illness and you cannot monitor their online activity 24/7. If you find yourself losing money and relationships over online gaming addiction, the first step to healing is to admit you have a problem. You may be an online gambling addict if you:
- Feel you need to hide when you gamble because you feel other people won’t understand or support your habits.
- Have trouble controlling how much you gamble – once you start you can’t stop.
- Gamble even when you don’t have the funds to.
- Have loved ones worried about you and missing your presence at family get-togethers or friend lunches. You may also be borrowing money from loved ones, which can fracture relationships.
How to Stop Gambling Online
There are many practical solutions to stop an online gambling addiction that can give you the same dopamine response. You must first place as many barriers as you can between yourself and the craving, so having gambling websites blocked and screen time limited is a great first step to take.
You can schedule a recurring block session so you won’t have access to certain websites – just add it like an event to your calendar, and have it repeat every day. Ease yourself into this as you wean off your online gambling addiction, and adjust scheduled times accordingly. For more resources to help you overcome your addiction, check out:
- The National Council on Problem Gambling Resources.
- The Problem Gambling Institute of Ontario online tools.
- Lifeline’s Problem Gambling Page.
Understand the Problem
Understanding your gambling problem and admitting you have an addiction is the first step to learning more about the issue and finding help. You may struggle with online gambling addiction if you:
- Feel the need to gamble with bigger and bigger amounts of money.
- Feel restless or irritable when doing other activities.
- Find that you gamble to manage stress, “get even,” or unwind.
- Have lied to loved ones about your gambling, or lost relationships due to your gambling.
- Need financial support to continue your addiction.
Join a Support Group
Support groups surround you with people who have experienced similar problems and want to get better. Gamblers Anonymous is a great group to join as it is built around the needs of people with gambling problems and has the familiar 12-step approach that addicts often have to go through to beat their cravings. Having support and people to talk to who understand where you’re coming from can make all the difference.
Block Gambling Sites
There are various gambling website blockers you can utilize to help you at first when you find that your willpower may not be the strongest. Some available blockers you can try include:
To block gambling sites on your Smartphone, try the following:
- Goodbye Gambling.
Seeing this “temptation” as a full-blown addiction allows you to seek out skills during your recovery and prevent relapsing. Avoid people, places, and activities linked to gambling that could trigger a setback, like spending more time with family and less time looking at screens where there could be gambling sites available. Having people supportive of your healing journey around you instead of enablers gives you a safe space to quit cold turkey.
Relax and Look After Yourself
When you spend all of your free time gambling, it can make you tense, irritable, and means you are spending less time taking care of yourself and resting. Relax, cook yourself a nice meal, and spend your time off doing activities that give you fulfillment or taking classes that will fill up your time. Before you know it, you’ll look more forward to visiting family or trying a new TV show in your spare time than gambling.
Some activities you can try to relieve stress that aren’t online gambling include:
- Exercising, like jogging or a dance workout.
- Sports with a team who isn’t overly competitive and won’t encourage betting.
- Yoga or meditation that can calm your mind after a long day.
What Can I Replace Online Gambling With?
When you are looking for things to replace online gambling with, it can be difficult to avoid swapping one addiction for another. Understand that quitting your online gambling addiction means you will have to create a good combination of interests and activities that you can participate in, stimulating you mentally, physically, and spiritually. Avoid overdrinking or any drug use, along with informing your doctor that you have struggled with addictions in the past before they prescribe anything to you.
Some things you can replace online gambling with include:
- Free online games with a screen time limit set.
- Video games.
- Board games with friends.
- Coming up with goals for what you’ll do with your saved money.
- Spending time with family.
- Going on exciting trips or taking courses that will give you the same dopamine thrill while also providing you with a learning experience.
How Can I Start Saving Money?
Ending your gambling addiction is a huge step towards financial freedom and creates a pathway for you to start saving up money you would’ve spent on gambling. To learn more about saving money in all areas of life, check out some Loan Express blogs like How To Save Money On Groceries, Tips For Saving Money On Gas, and Financial Advice For Struggling Canadians.
How Can I Get Cash To Repay My Debts Before Payday?
Now that you have the proper tools to get over your addiction and get back on track with your finances, you may need help getting off your feet. With Loan Express, you can receive the money you need as soon as possible to pay off any debts you may have before your next payday. Loan Express has been offering convenient, smart loans across Canada for over 15 years. Whether it’s a little or a lot, we get you the cash you need, wherever you are. Fill out your application today.