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Gambling triggers

Understanding the types of situations that can make you want to gamble can be very valuable in helping you to gamble less. When you are aware of your triggers, you can plan strategies to deal with each of these situations

Some common triggers to make people want to gamble include:

  • Relationship difficulties – You may gamble when you are in conflict with the people in your life. You might benefit from leaving the situation, being assertive, or enlisting help from other people. If this is a problem in the long-term, it may be necessary to improve your skills in communication, conflict management or anger management.
  • Worrying about debts – Having the belief that the only way to get money is by gambling, will likely worsen your financial state and trigger more gambling. You can break this cycle by creating a budget or exploring other ways of managing your money. Financial counselling may also be helpful to build some more long term solutions.
  • Experiencing unpleasant feelings – You may gamble to escape from, or cope with feelings such as depression, loneliness or frustration. Gambling may provide short-term relief but will result in an increase in negative feelings in the long run. You may need to identify and change your negative thoughts. You could identify some alternative activities that you enjoy and try to do these more often.
  • Using alcohol or drugs – You may gamble more when you have been drinking or taking drugs. You could explore the relationship between alcohol or substance use and gambling. Does drinking/drug use trigger your gambling? Or does gambling trigger your drinking/drug use? Or both? Research suggests there is a relationship between alcohol and riskier types of gambling as well as making it harder to stop or stick to limits. Making a plan with a counsellor could be a great way to make a change, or see how others are making a change on the 100 Day Challenge.
  • Feeling confident in your gambling skill – You may gamble more when you are confident about your skill, or believe that a system could help you to win at gambling. You may need to address some mistaken beliefs about how odds work. It is helpful to figure out how much money you’ve spent overall, rather than focusing on individual wins.
  • Certain social situations – You may gamble when people around you want you to gamble. You may need to find alternative activities to do with friends or discover other possibilities for socialising. You might also need to be assertive in resisting social pressure to gamble and ask other people to support your efforts to change.