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A New Year's Resolution - Controlling Problematic Gambling Behavior
For release: Dec. 21, 2006
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The new year provides an opportunity to start fresh, to decide if our current behavior is in line with our long-term goals.  For those who may have a problem with addictive gambling, this means deciding whether the negative consequences of gambling are worth it. But, as we all know, keeping resolutions may be a different story

Here are some helpful tips from the Gambling Clinic at The University of Memphis to enable gamblers to take back some control over their gambling behavior:

Tip #1:  Seek Support From Family and Friends.  Informing family and friends of a gambling problem may provide you with feelings of relief and an opportunity for you to let them know how to be supportive of your efforts to gain control.

Tip #2:  Set Goals.  Decide whether you would like to stop gambling altogether or only in certain ways. If you decide to continue to gamble, set very specific goals for how many days a month, how much time per visit, and the amount of money you will spend gambling. Planning ahead and setting goals is a good way to ensure gambling in moderation.

Tip #3:  Employ Behavioral Safeguards.  Take steps that make it more difficult for you to gamble recklessly. For example, request that paychecks be directly deposited instead of cashing them at the casino. Keep separate from your winnings the amount of money that you intend to spend. When you reach your limit, it’s time to leave. Do not take credit cards or check/debit cards with you; this will make it more difficult for you to tap into a checking account or borrow against credit impulsively. If coupons or other incentives entice you to gamble, call and request to be removed from mailing lists, or ask someone at home to destroy the coupons.

Tip #4:  Seek Professional Help.  At the Gambling Clinic, we specialize in treating gambling-related problems. We do not require abstinence from gambling, but we do encourage individuals to set specific goals for their gambling behavior. Our counseling sessions are one-to-one, and each is led by an experienced gambling therapist. If a group format is preferred, Gambler’s Anonymous meetings are held and provide a great forum for group support.

These are just a few of the many steps you can take to control your gambling and change your life. Like any good New Year’s resolution, focus on what you need to change, identify your goal, and be as creative as you need to be to find the right strategy to successfully change. We wish everyone the very best as we embark on a new year filled with wonderful resolutions to improve our lives.

Information about the Gambling Clinic at the University of Memphis can be found online at http://thegamblingclinic.memphis.edu.

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Last updated: 03/19/2008 16:06:03
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