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By Ambrianna Freeze

How to stop gambling before it becomes an addiction

Over 1.6 billion people across the world place a bet during some part of their lifetime. While some of those people enjoy gambling as a fun game to play occasionally, 2 to 3 percent of Americans who gamble have what is considered a problem with gambling; essentially, their gambling becomes an addiction that leads to behavior that can be extremely costly. For those who are considered problem gamblers, there is plenty of information regarding how gambling can impact finances and more importantly, how to seek help and gain control of a gambling problem.

How problem gambling impacts finances

While gambling is still illegal in certain parts of the country, it has become a sensation among Americans who like to take risks. Many Americans travel to places such as Las Vegas to gamble. Gambling can be profitable but it is more often a losing game.

Finances can easily dive for people who become addicted to the rush gambling can provide. Issues with gambling can result in the denial of credit, the inability to pay bills, problems purchasing basic needs and even losing a home to foreclosure. For gamblers with families, all of these issues can be extremely detrimental to the people close to the problem gambler.

Tips to manage gambling

If you need help managing your gambling problem, check out these three steps.

  • Admitting the problem is the first step to treating a gambling addiction. The problem must be faced head-on before it can be stopped, so the gambler should take the time to admit the issue and share it. Sharing the problem does not have to involve another person; writing a letter to oneself is a way to hash out the problem without talking to a friend, although trusting someone else to help is always the best choice.
  • After talking or writing through the issue, choose a specific date to take a break from gambling. Depending on the severity of the addiction, this break does not have to be a certain period of time. It could be a single day or a full month. Much like breaking the habit of smoking cigarettes, trying to stop gambling “cold turkey” often will not work.
  • The next step is to seek education on gambling addiction. There are thousands of websites that focus on facts and issues surrounding gambling addictions. They will provide statistics, specific types of gamblers and what triggers will plague a problem gambler.

Seeking help for a gambling problem

Following attempting to take a break from gambling and seeking education on problem gambling, it is important to seek support from people or counselors who have experience with gambling addictions. While the most effective support will come from a group – specifically a 12-Step program – another option is to begin by seeking self-help materials. These are available at local libraries and bookstores.

When a problem gambler is ready to seek a support group, many options are available from joining a local group to working with an online support program like

Gambling addiction is a serious issue and is not to be taken lightly. It does not only hurt the person with the addiction, but it also hurts the people around them. Luckily, there are ways to control and even stop problem gambling. Stopping an addiction takes work, but it can be done. These tips and support options are the first step to stopping problem gambling and will lead to even better management later on.

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