How do my thoughts affect my gambling?

    Two human head silhouettes with cogs and gears

Often people don’t stop to think if their thoughts are entirely true, and whether these thoughts are helping them to achieve our life goals. Often the ways people think about things are not correct but they believe them anyway. For example, many people with gambling problems develop beliefs about their chances of winning which don’t make sense. Such as thinking if they continue gambling they will eventually get a big win. When we believe these thoughts they become a significant risk factor for a gambling relapse.  It can be difficult to resist gambling if you convince yourself you will win this time. However, these thoughts are seldom true.

These irrational thoughts become a concern for the gambler with any financial problems who truly believes they will win and be able to resolve these problems. This is rarely the case, as the gambler usually leaves the venue having lost all their money and is in a more serious financial problem after trying to win back their losses.

For example gamblers highlighted the presence of these faulty thoughts:

 ‘‘For me I continually thought gambling was a way of making money until the money was gone’’

 “I might win this time and pay my bills’’

It is also known that many people seek help because of the distress caused by the negative financial impacts of gambling (Rodda,2013) usually because they have lost all their money trying to have a big win.

People seeking help often described:

 “I have lost all my money I was sure I was going to win. I was stupid thinking I would but I just wanted to pay off my bills. What will I do now? The money is gone!”

It’s not until the money is gone that they realize this win never really happens it just a fantasy in their mind.

I had a couple of big wins, and even though afterwards I had heaps and heaps of losses, all I could think about was replicating that feeling when I won. The rush was unbelievable and even though the money was quickly gone again I could remember the sounds, the lights…..everything. It seemed like it had to happen again, that I was due for another win’.

If you notice these thoughts coming into your mind making gambling difficult to resist you may like to visit our website for some self-help materials to get you started. You may like to check out our Gambling Help Workbook that can provide you with some to skills help address the beliefs that drive problem gambling:

https://gamblinghelp.nsw.gov.au/wp-content/uploads/Self-Help-Booklet-Web5.pdf

One practical first step you can take if you think financial problems are acting as a trigger to gambling is to seek the assistance of a financial counselor. The Gambling Helpline can provide you with a referral to this free service.

There is help available from an experienced gambling counselor you can call Gambling Help on 1800 858 858 to speak confidentially about your gambling.  Free individual sessions are available to anybody who might be concerned about their gambling or their financial problems.  Just ask the Gambling Helpline counselor for a referral.

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