How to Stop Gambling on Online Slots

Online slot gambling is a dangerous habit that can be very hard to break. It’s easy to lose track of time and spend more than you intended, especially when you’re chasing after big wins. Many people struggle with this kind of addiction and end up causing serious financial harm. In addition, they often miss out on social life activities and experience depression. Fortunately, there are ways to stop gambling on slots and take control of your finances again.

The first step is to understand why you’re unable to quit. Heavy gamblers tend to blame themselves for their problem, telling themselves that if only they were more disciplined or had the self-control of their non-gambling friends, things would be different. But the real culprit is the addictive changes in brain chemistry that occur when you win or lose in a casino. Every little win triggers a burst of dopamine, which is the natural reward chemical that makes us feel good. These chemical triggers are similar to the ones that happen when you level up in a video game or get a like on Facebook.

Gambling can also be used as a distraction from deeper underlying issues such as anxiety and depression. The internet makes it even easier to use gambling as a way to escape from stress or boredom by providing round-the-clock access to risky games. In these cases, it’s usually not even about the money anymore.

When you’re able to identify the underlying causes of your gambling problem, the next step is to develop a plan to tackle them. A plan can include strategies such as setting time limits, limiting spending or completely excluding yourself from gambling. Depending on the severity of your problem, you may need to seek help from a professional.

A key part of a plan is to remove yourself from the casino and surrounding environment. This can be as simple as asking casino staff to put you on the banned list and keeping a copy of your ban for your records. It’s also important to make a commitment to not play any gambling-related games for at least a few weeks. This will give your mind a chance to refocus and you’ll be more likely to quit if you’ve given yourself some time to miss the excitement of the casinos.

It’s also crucial to find new, empowering activities to replace problem gambling. This could be rekindling an old hobby or trying something new. Volunteering is another great option. Studies have shown that it reduces feelings of stress and depression, and can lead to more positive behaviors. You can also try meditation and mindful practices to shift your thought patterns away from harmful behaviors. Lastly, it’s a good idea to practice gratitude by writing down everything you’re grateful for, which can increase positivity and help you shift your maladaptive coping mechanisms.