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What happens if I stop gambling?

12th December 2016

Catherine addresses some common questions about giving up gambling, dealing with triggers and what happens if you relapse.

So. Either you or someone close to you has come to the realisation that their gambling behaviour has become harmful. Some people may be able to walk away more easily that others, and some people will remain preoccupied with gambling for a long time.

If gambling has become such a significant part of your life, when you try to remove that stimulus you may experience withdrawal symptoms. Probably not to the extent that you would if you were removing a substance, such as cigarettes or alcohol, but they may be substantial for you.

You may experience disturbed sleep, mood swings or physical symptoms such as headaches. You may feel restless and unsure how to occupy yourself, and that can bring your thoughts around to placing another bet.

Finding an activity, or multiple activities, which keeps your focus elsewhere can help. Everyone will be different, and ultimately what you do instead of gambling will depend on what you feel gambling was giving you in the first place.

Talking through your situation with someone trained to listen with empathy and help you make changes is a positive step. GamCare counsellors can help you understand what your triggers are and how to manage them to achieve your goal.

If you have been trying to stop gambling and you relapse, don’t treat this as a disaster – it doesn’t mean you’re back to square one. You can learn from this and try to understand what your trigger was, so that you can put a strategy in place to avoid that situation in the future.

If you need to talk to someone impartial, Advisers on the National Gambling HelpLine are available every day from 8am – Midnight on Freephone 0808 8020 133 or via our NetLine.

Read more advice on what you can do to control or stop gambling.