Pathological Gambling and Coping with Urges
A pathological gambler almost has an automatic reflex when they have an urge to gamble. The active gambler does not know how to stop the urge to gamble. A recent article discusses how giving into urges is a real problem for our country. But, once someone gets treatment they will learn how to cope with the strong desires to gamble.
One of the first thing someone needs to learn is how to deny their urges. A trigger or urge does not last forever. It will go way as long as you do not give into it. It’s like if someone has poison ivy, the first thing they want to do is scratch it. But there are other ways to handle this itch that will be beneficial to you in the long run. For instance, put medicated cream on it or take an oatmeal bath. The same is true when a person has the urge to gamble.
Another idea when coping with urges is to delay gratification. So, a person might have an unrealistic thought that an urge will never go away. The fact of the matter is that urges usually last for seconds or minutes and rarely much longer. There are though realistic thoughts about urges. For instance, an urge feels uncomfortable. A person should accept this feeling and if one can delay the feeling the urge will go away!
There are also triggers that can cause urges and the key is if a person is aware of these triggers then they can do their best to avoid them. An example is if a restaurant triggers an urge then maybe bring a supportive friend with you. You can also either distance yourself from the situation or avoid it all together for awhile. Lastly, another good idea is to substitute something in place of the urges such as attending a twelve step meeting, eating a healthy meal or going for a walk. These strategies will help you to avoid giving into urges. Make the effort and it will pay off in the long run!