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Gambling – some view it as an exciting, adrenaline producing form of entertainment. To others though, it is a source of endless pain – with debt and financial ruin just the beginning of it’s problems.

While no one can deny the thrill of experiencing a winning streak, it is also true that no one can go on winning forever. In the long run, the gambler loses. In the meantime, however, there is the very likely possibility that he has become hooked. He becomes, therefore, enslaved to his addiction, as surely as a crack addict is enslaved to his.

He will resort to deviousness, deceit and even crime to fuel the addiction. His family relationships suffer sometimes terminal damage and his self esteem plummets. It’s not surprising, then, that the Harvard Health Letter recently commented that compulsive gamblers are “prone to severe depression, anxiety disorders,” as well as “digestive problems, insomnia, headaches, hypertension, backaches and chest pains.” If you are under the gambling spell, you know these symptoms all too well. So, just how can you break free from the vice-like grip of gambling addiction?

The first step is to make a firm resolve within yourself to break free from the gambling habit. You must really want to quit. Unless you are determined to break free, it wont happen. How can you develop such a mentality? By thinking, not about its pleasures, but, rather, its consequences.

You will have to develop a great deal of self control in order to successfully beat the gambling urge. You must learn to get tough with yourself, not letting your desires control you. Don’t allow yourself to continue as the helpless slave of your addiction.

Breaking free from an addiction, however, often involves getting to the root cause of the problem. Many in the field of mental health now link addictions such as gambling to child abuse or neglect. Whatever the case, getting to the cause of the problem, may help you to overcome it. Seeking help in this area may greatly benefit you.

You will also have to make some serious lifestyle changes to win the battle against gambling. To prevent a relapse you must steer clear of former gambling partners and environments. This doesn’t mean that you now have to isolate yourself. Look to replace those things with healthy alternatives. Join a gym or sports team. Spend more time with your family. Stay active. Realise that there is a whole lot more to life than a smoke infested gambling house. Look ahead to a life where you are in control and you need never look back to that period in your life when you were an addict. It will be a thing of the past.