Gambling can be an addictive habit, with addiction rates that match those of more traditional vices like alcohol and drug addiction. Like any type of addiction, gambling addiction can lead to serious problems if it’s not treated immediately and effectively, and some gamblers are not even aware they have developed a problem until it has become severe. If you are worried that you or someone you love may have developed an unhealthy relationship with gambling, here’s how to cope with gambling withdrawal and gambling rehab treatment resources available to you.
How Gambling Withdrawal Works
In order to cope with gambling withdrawal, you need to understand how it works. A gambling addiction progresses in a similar way to an alcohol or drug addiction: your body becomes tolerant of gambling, your brain comes to rely on it for satisfaction and enjoyment, and when you try and quit, you experience serious withdrawal symptoms.
Symptoms of Gambling Withdrawal
There are three primary symptoms of gambling withdrawal: depression, anxiety, and aggression. If you’re feeling despondent, anxious, or frustrated for no reason at all—or if you have a problem controlling your anger—consider seeking help from a therapist or counsellor. You may also experience panic attacks. While gambling can be a source of fun and excitement in our lives, when it becomes too much of an obsession it can lead to serious problems that harm your relationships and work performance.
Tips for Easing Withdrawal Symptoms
The best thing you can do for yourself when you’re withdrawing from gambling is stay busy. Distraction helps take your mind off it, and when your mind isn’t focused on gambling, you feel better. Set up daily routines to keep yourself distracted, such as cleaning or exercising. Consider attending a 12-step program for gambling addiction; these programs offer support groups and other activities designed specifically for people trying to quit gambling.
You can also take these steps to ease the symptoms:
1) Eat a balanced diet
3) Get plenty of sleep
4) Identify & Manage Triggers
6) Join a support group
7) Know it’s only temporary
8) Get help in Rehab
Treatment for Gambling Addiction
The first step in any recovery program is usually detox, or recovery from physical addiction. For compulsive gamblers, that means taking a break from gambling for an extended period of time. Gamblers Anonymous meetings and self-help books can be helpful in that respect. It’s also important for gamblers to seek treatment for their psychological addiction before returning to gambling at all; some clinics specialise in treating both mental and physical addictions simultaneously.