Gambling should be considered as a leisure activity and if at any time you feel that you have lost control of your spending then you should consider seeking assistance or at least speaking with a family member. There are many places where you may seek professional help, most notably Gamblers Anonymous and Gamcare, and they can provide the support and the guidance to put you back on the right track. You will of course need to know, or at least believe that you have a problem and there are signs of this.
If you are hiding the fact that you are gambling or if you lie about the amount of money you are losing then you may have a gambling problem. Other signs are simply not being able to walk away,and feeling that you must stay and gamble, and also making higher bets in order to try and win back the money you have already lost. Perhaps one of the biggest indicators of a gambling problem is gambling even when you do not have the money to do so, and borrowing the money from a friend, or using credit. Even worse is that you begin to sell possessions in order to gamble in a constant circle of trying to win your money back.
Compulsive gambling often leads to a feeling of isolation and anti-social behaviour, such as not mixing with your usual friends so that you may go and gamble instead, or missing out on social events due to the fact that you have lost your money. The most important thing in overcoming the problem is the recognition that the problem exists and the next step is to seek help from a professional body, a loved one, or you attempt to help yourself.
The first step to overcoming the problem is realizing what changes need to be made to your life, eliminating those things in your life that allow for gambling and replacing them with healthier options. Firstly you need the urge to stop, and you need to have thought about the consequences of your gambling, the money that has been spent and the time that you are spending gambling. You need to do what you can to break old habits and replace them with new ones.
Think about the reason you are gambling, if you are gambling for the rush and the excitement, then replace this with a challenge of some other kind such as a sport. Change your social habits and fill in those hours you spent gambling with other social activities. Spend your time with people who do not gamble, maybe your family or a different group of friends, and stay away from places where gambling is allowed.
You will have the urge to gamble, and this is normal, and when you do it is always a good idea to reach out to a trusted friend or family member who may be able to help. When you get this urges, quickly replace them with something else such as going to the gym, reading a book or watching a movie. Stopping gambling is difficult and many need the help of a professional organization, and is at any time you feel you have a problem then you should seek that help.