Understanding Gambling Cravings

Understanding Gambling CravingsCravings (whether for gambling, food, drugs or shopping) are a desire to return to a particular behavior, and they can range from being mild to extremely intense. Depending on where you are in the recovery process, you may experience cravings frequently or sporadically.

Why Do People Have Cravings

When people become mentally or physically dependent on something, they establish a desire. In this case, a person becomes dependent on gambling for any of the following reasons:

  • Having an emotional investment in the activity
  • Having enticing physical reactions of excitement, drama and victory
  • Social interactions
  • Financial reward

After a period of gambling, the mind and body are altered and dependence is established.

Cravings and Triggers

A trigger is anything that brings the thought of gambling to your mind. Cravings can be initiated from people, places, feelings, physical pain, sights, smells or tastes, all of which are triggers. Everyone has different triggers and each person reacts differently to these situations.

However, unless people have a coping strategy for triggers, it is very difficult to stop responding to them. Again, people need coping skills to deal with these cravings or they will succumb to relapse.

Dealing with Gambling Cravings

You need a plan to deal with your gambling cravings. It makes sense to write down your plan so that you can implement your ideas on the fly. You can deal with gambling cravings in the following ways:

  • Give your money to someone else, often a partner or loved one, who can monitor your spending and only give you money for valid purchases
  • Occupy your mind to distract yourself from gambling. Now is a terrific time to start an exercise program, pick up a new hobby, volunteer for a worthy cause or even explore new events and community programs.
  • Meditation and prayer are valuable tools that calm in the moment until the craving passes
  • Reach out to your support system and ask them to help, like watch a movie, take a hike or get something to eat

When cravings happen, pick something on your plan and implement it immediately. If you happen to call a friend and he is not available, pick another distraction.

Damage of Gambling Addiction

Problem gambling affects more than 15 million Americans, and more than 3 million of them are addicted or pathological gamblers. Unfortunately, gambling addicts will probable experience one or more of the following consequences:

  • Strained relationships
  • Irresponsibility at home or work
  • Financial catastrophe
  • Inappropriate behaviors such as stealing money

Gambling can cause you to lose everything that is important to you, so get help today before you lose more than money.

Help for Gambling Addiction

If you struggle with gambling cravings, please call our toll-free helpline today. We are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you might have about gambling addiction treatment programs. We are here to help.