How to break a gambling addiction

How to Quit Gambling Addiction

Compulsive gambling, also known as gambling addiction or gambling disorder, is the uncontrollable urge to gamble even when negative consequences have taken a toll in your life. It means that you’re willing to gamble whether you’re up or down, affluent or penniless, carefree or downhearted, and you’ll continue to gamble regardless of the repercussions—even when you know that the odds are in defiance of you. Still,  you can’t manage to lose.

Gambling can restore the brain’s reward system just like drugs or alcohol can do which leads to a certain kind of addiction. If you’re experiencing compulsive gambling, you may continuously run after bets that lead to losing, conceal your way of behaving, empty your savings, stockpile debts, or even resort to thieving or fraudulence just to support your addiction. In short, compulsive gambling is a serious condition that can ruin someone’s life. (1)

Did you know gambling costs UK more than £100 million a year? You can read more about it here!

Signs and Symptoms of Compulsive Gambling

Signs and symptoms of compulsive gambling include the following: (2)

  • Being obsessed with gambling to the point that you relentlessly plan on how to get more money
  • Demands to gamble with growing amounts of money to remain thrilled
  • Failure to quit or cut back from it
  • Feeling uneasy or grumpy when you try not to gamble
  • Using it to break free from problems
  • Chasing losses
  • Deceiving family members or others to cover up the extent of your addiction
  • Compromising or losing valued relationships and career because of gambling
  • Turning to theft or fraud to gain some winnings
  • Begging others to bail you out of monetary trouble because you gambled money away

In contrast to casual gamblers who are disciplined to stop when losing or was able to set a loss limit, people with compulsive gambling issues are driven to continue playing just to recover their money — a pattern that becomes progressively disastrous over time. (3)

Read further on the dangerous effects of gambling addiction here.

Ways on How to Quit Gambling

Gambling addiction is abominable and terribly damaging. It is important to seek some help as soon as possible because it isn’t easy to quit. Here are few strategies that you can use to put your compulsive gambling to stop and take back your life. (4)

1. Take a Break

Schedule your day in a very structured way. When you wake up in the morning, make a decision that you will not gamble and plan your day ahead. Keep your schedule busy with important things so you will not have a lot of free time to think of gambling. Prohibit yourself from entering or getting near a casino, downloading online gaming applications, or paying visits to gaming websites.

2. Find Other Hobbies

Find some other activities to replace your gambling habits. Explore other interesting hobbies like exercising, hanging out with friends, or do some cooking. Do whatever it takes to keep yourself busy. You could pick up a new, exciting hobby, like biking, climbing or running.

3. Remember How Bad It Feels to Lose

Remember the feeling when you lose a lot of money because of gambling. Sanction yourself to feel that disheartenment when you are having thoughts about gambling again.

4. Educate Yourself About Gambling Addiction

Educate yourself mainly about your specific type of gambling addiction. Find out what type of gambler you are. Find out what triggers your gambling addiction so you will know how are you going to act against it.

5. Seek Help

Seek help. Contemplate about reading a gambling addiction forum. Even if you do not join, reading other people’s stories and struggles may help you realize that you are not alone. It is uplifting that you realize that you are not the only person with this problem. Many share your plight and are also looking for answers and support from other gamblers.

6. Find a Support Group

Attend a gambler support group. Having support from other gamblers who also want to quit will be an important piece of your recovery. Just sharing about your gambling with other people who understand what you’re going through can be really helpful as it will lighten up your burden.

7. Hand Over Control of Your Money

Ask a close family member to take care of your money. If you do not have money on hand, you will be less apt to impulsively gamble. It will be hard, but it is an important step in your recovery. Also, do not allow yourself to access your ATM or your credit cards. Just keep a small amount of cash with you, so you cannot spend your money in losing.

8. Have Your Pros and Cons

Make a list about how your problem has affected your life in a negative way. Write as much as you can. Also, write about how your life will change for the better when you stop playing.

9. Make a Financial Plan

Talk to a debt counselor about your monetary debts. Ask for advice about how to relieve financial pressure and solve financial problems caused by your past loses. The financial stress that you have from gambling addiction debts can drive you back to gambling if not addressed. Financial problems are the biggest consequence of gambling. Be sure to use a non-profit debt assistance agency, and not one that is for-profit.

10. Get a Good Counselor

See a counselor that specializes in gambling addictions and talk to this person about your problem. If your gambling addiction is terrible, you will need as much assistance as you can get to help you stop gambling.

11. Get Help for Underlying Mood Disorders

Many people with a gambling problem also suffer from depression, anxiety, stress, or other substance abuse issues. These can both trigger compulsive gambling as well as make it worse.

12. Get in the Right Environment

Surround yourself with people that you trust who want to see you recover and avoid any kind of environment where you might be tempted to gamble. Remove applications similar to it from your phone and tell the casinos that you have a compulsive gambling issue and that you want them to block you from entering their vicinity because you’re trying to resolve your issues.

Now that you have made a serious commitment to solving your addiction problem, congratulations! Looking ahead your future without gambling should look brighter and more hopeful.

wikiHow is a wiki similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are written collaboratively. To create this article, 41 people, some anonymous, worked to edit and improve it over time. This article has also been viewed 141,582 times.

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A video game addiction can result in weakened relationships with family/friends, lost money, neglect of more important obligation, and hundreds of hours of wasted time. It’s easy to end your video game addiction if you follow these simple and easy steps!


  1. how to break a gambling addiction

    Do not make excuses. If you have a video game addiction, admit it. Do not try to rationalize it, deny it, ignore it, justify it, or compare yourself to others. Just try to work toward a solution.

  2. how to break a gambling addiction

    Begin by setting up a plan which stops you from buying video games. Create a yearly budget with a reasonable limit. Also, try to refrain from impulse buying. Not only will this help cure the addiction, but it will save you money.

  3. how to break a gambling addiction

    Change your mentality. Realize that the video games you are playing now aren’t going to matter to you at all in five years, or possibly even one. Realize that nothing productive is achieved from playing video games and after five years, your video game collection will be meaningless. Your high scores will hold no prestige in five years.

  4. how to break a gambling addiction

    Don’t be a perfectionist. Don’t try to complete video games 100%, since in most cases, that requires dozens of hours. Realize that while it may feel accomplishing inside to unlock everything, it produces no real tangible benefits and can be done without.

  5. how to break a gambling addiction

    Limit weekly video game time and start phasing out. For example, go from 20 hours, to 18 hours, to 16, and lower.

  6. how to break a gambling addiction

    Reward yourself if you reduce your playing time. Do not play video games to reward yourself; instead, treat yourself to some ice cream or something fun. You can even enlist a friend or family member.

  7. how to break a gambling addiction

    Vow that you will meet all of your obligations (school, work, family, etc.) before you play games. Video games should also be used only to reward good behavior – not bad behavior.

  8. how to break a gambling addiction

    Consider asking a family member or close friend to hold all of your video games for a week or two.

  9. how to break a gambling addiction

    Most importantly, solve the root problem which is causing you to turn to video games as a vice. Most addictions work like a vicious cycle. Indulgence in vices, results in problems which can be temporary alleviated by indulging in vices.

Community Q&A

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  • Question

    How can I get someone who doesn’t want to stop his addiction to stop it?

    wikiHow Contributor

    Community Answer

    Stopping someone else’s addiction is hard, if not impossible. One of the best ways is to show them what they are losing because of it (time with friends and family, good grades and a successful future, etc.) and what they could be doing instead. However different people require different solutions so consulting an addiction counselor may be best.

  • Question

    How do I stop thinking about video games and what I can be doing in the games?

    wikiHow Contributor

    Community Answer

    Call a friend. Get outside. Focus on your homework. The key is to get busy doing something else.

  • Question

    How do I overcome an addiction to my PS4?

    wikiHow Contributor

    Community Answer

    Set a goal. Stopping completely is very challenging. Try reducing your playing time daily until you can go on with life without it.

  • Question

    What are some other tips to avoid computer and video games?

    wikiHow Contributor

    Community Answer

    Get a phone that does not have a lot of games and get rid of any consoles or gaming PCs. Use operating systems that don’t facilitate gaming as much as others (e.g. Linux, MacOS) and use old computers that are too slow for gaming. Then you have to find other things you enjoy doing, like sports, music, reading, etc.

  • Question

    Are there any quicker methods?

    wikiHow Contributor

    Community Answer

    Get rid of your gaming devices. If you don’t want to get rid of them completely, you can leave them at a relative’s house or something like that, so you can’t access them for a while.

  • Question

    I’m addicted to a game on my phone, and I just can’t stop playing. What can I do?

    wikiHow Contributor

    Community Answer

    Delete the app. Or, don’t carry your phone with you.

  • Question

    How do I stop wanting to play DOTA 2?

    wikiHow Contributor

    Community Answer

    Give your items to newbies until you have nothing left.

  • Question

    How do I intervene in my son’s gaming addiction?

    wikiHow Contributor

    Community Answer

    Try doing something fun with him. See if there are any state parks nearby, or anywhere you could get out and enjoy nature. Try board games or card games. They can require some of the same focus and planning as video games.

  • Question

    What can I do to make sure I stop?

    wikiHow Contributor

    Community Answer

    You can delete all your games and/or sell your system.

  • Question

    How do I stop my sister from playing League of Legends?

    wikiHow Contributor

    Community Answer

    As with all addictions, the best way to stop someone from playing is to show her better things she can do with life. Try to show her how playing LoL is a waste of time.

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Unanswered Questions

  • What if you don’t have anything to do if you stop playing?

  • How can I get over a video game addiction?

  • I am addicted to a video game which is like an online community. I have stopped playing the game, but I can’t stop thinking about it and I miss playing it a lot. What should I do to curb these feelings?

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  • Avoid playing online multiplayer games in guilds whenever possible. Guilds cost time and effort and leaders will expect you to be very active and/or pro. This can cause unfavorable times of your day-schedule.
  • Try other activities such as exercising, brain-puzzles,programming or blogging with the time that was used for video-games for extracurricular activities.
  • Limit the amount of time spent on games. Instead of playing 5 hours straight take a break after an hour then come back 2 hours later.
  • Raise your gaming standards. Instead of wanting to try every single kind of game, only play the best games while ignoring the average and mediocre games.
  • Consider renting some games (or trying them out at a friend’s house) instead of buying them. Not only will it save you money, but it will put a limit to how much time you can spend on it.
  • Viewing videos or gameplays of a game instead of buying it will allow you to experience the game while saving both time and money.
  • Remember that this can be a slow process.
  • Delete all your games and enable restrictions so it can prevent you from installing the game again.
  • Sign up for an enjoyable camp or vacation and don’t bring your gaming device. By the end of your week, your brain should remove most of it’s dependency on games.


  • Neglection of real-life responsibilities or personal care
  • Emotional ties to a videogame or video-game account
  • Excessive online-gameplay ranging from 4hours to 12hours per day.
  • Overnight game-play on a daily basis
  • Excessive loss of money due to poor budgeting
  • Activities done online which could lead to embarrassment or shame in real-life.

Article Info

wikiHow is a wiki similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are written collaboratively. To create this article, 41 people, some anonymous, worked to edit and improve it over time. This article has also been viewed 141,582 times.

Categories: Gaming Addictions

In other languages:

Español: acabar con la adicción a un videojuego, Русский: покончить с зависимостью от компьютерных игр, Português: Largar o Vício em Videogame, Français: en finir avec sa dépendance au jeu vidéo, Deutsch: Videospielsucht beenden, Bahasa Indonesia: Menghentikan Kecanduan Bermain Gim Video, Italiano: Sconfiggere la Dipendenza da Videogiochi

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Addiction Replacement: Using Other Habits To Break Your Addictive Ones

Addiction is a difficult subject to tackle.

What is addiction, in the first place? In a loved one, especially in a child, it can cause feelings of intense guilt and responsibility. Then there are even stickier concepts, like relapse and triggers, and how much of that can be controlled by the addict, versus what is a natural consequence of their addiction.

Additionally, what role do alternate habits play in addiction recovery? How can we start to adapt new habits and get over cravings for a specific drug-of-choice…for good? We explore here. Then, we invite your questions or comments about habits at the end. In fact, we try to respond to all legitimate questions with a personal and prompt reply.

The Ever Growing Addiction Problem

When you begin to look at statistics dealing with addiction, it becomes even harder to stomach. According to a startling update to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the number of Americans with addictions to drugs and alcohol could be as high as 23 million, but we know it doesn’t end there. With the specification of “drugs and alcohol”, it doesn’t cover other addictions which can be just as harmful to one’s life, such as gambling, or even sex.

There is also a phenomenon known as addiction replacement. Addicts who go down this road will take one problem and switch it with another. For example, someone who is addicted to alcohol may begin to smoke large amounts of marijuana. A former opiate addict could begin habitually overeating to deal with the stress of losing their former coping mechanism. A gambling addict could begin engaging in dangerous impulse buying that bankrupts them.

Usually, the argument for this replacement is that the new addiction is less harmful than the old one. In some cases this might be true, but that doesn’t make it a good course of action. The point of battling addiction is not to reduce its impact by giving it a new focus. It is to recover from that addiction entirely.

Healthy Habits, Not New Addictions

Instead, one alternative is to begin developing lifelong, healthy habits. It is harder work, but far more effective in both the long term.
In 2011, an interesting book was released on Kindle by a man named Mishka Shubaly. He had been battling alcoholism, and it had badly impacted his overall life and health. His solution? It wasn’t a rehab center, or a special medication. He began to run, starting at five miles, then gradually increasing it all the way to 50 miles.

You can find a similar story from the creator of the comic The Oatmeal, who talks about his constant fight against what he calls the “Blerch”. The Blerch is a character he created to represent his inherent tendency towards unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as drinking and eating.
Of course, it isn’t always that simple, and sometimes professional help is the only thing that is going to allow an addict to get past their problem. But it illustrates how one healthy habit can be a coping mechanism, and help lead away from addictive behaviors.

This is not a theory without its foundation in scientific study. Dr. Kelly McGonigal Ph.D found when working with addicts that something as simple as mindfulness could be the key to breaking beyond temptation. It could, in some cases, be a matter of willpower when it comes to beginning the recovery process. That is quite reassuring to anyone who has been impacted by this horrific disease.

5 Steps to Starting a New Habit to Beat Addiction

If you’re ready to begin a new habit and replace your addiction with something positive, there are five things you’ll need to do.

1. Simplify Your Goals. If you try to change your entire life in a day, you’re going to fail. Pick one goal and be willing to let others fall by the wayside for a bit. Focus first on what is most important and build on your goals as you gather more strength and resilience.

2. Make A Daily Change. Your goal for a healthy new habit has to be a change you make on a daily basis. This way it’s constantly occurring. If your goal is a weekly or monthly activity, then you’re likely to forget about it.

3. Set Reminders. Create reminders of your goal everywhere necessary. Write is on your fridge, your bathroom mirror, create an alert in your phone, tell a friend. Even the best goal setters forget from time to time to what goals they’re trying to focus on and WHY they were so motivated to do so in the first place.

4. Create A Trigger. This is some sort of ritual you perform right before you act out the new habit you’re trying to perform. If you’re trying to quit smoking, this could be something as simple as doing push ups or drinking a glass of water every time you fight the urge to smoke a cigarette.

5. Get Rid Of Temptation. Rid your life of anything that will tempt you to break your goal. Remove drugs or alcohol from the home if you’re trying to quit these substances. Do not go to places where you know they will be used. Avoid friends who use substances you’re trying to get away from if they’re unwilling to support your goals.

Breaking addictions, healing, forming healthy habits for a healthy and happy life is within your reach, no matter how far into addiction you or your loved one may have gone.

If you have questions that you’re struggling to find answers to, reach out to us! We’re happy to answer questions and point you in the right direction if you’re looking for resources, community, support, and healing.

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