Gambling can be a fun and thrilling activity for many people. However, for some individuals gambling can become an addiction that ruins their life. If you are concerned that your friend or family member may have a gambling problem, it is important to be able to spot the signs. In this blog post, we will discuss the signs of gambling addiction and how to get help if you or someone you know is struggling with this issue.
The concern with gambling addiction, much like most addictive habits, isn't the gambling directly but how a people engage in the gambling activity. Gambling disorder, often known as compulsive gambling, is an irrepressible need to continue gambling despite the negative consequences. Gambling is amongst the most deceptive of human vices since it gives the appearance of cheap cash while ultimately leading to financial disaster. Gambling is no longer limited to poker tables and casino slot machines. Gambling can be as simple as downloading an app or visiting a website on your laptop, depending on the region. On the other hand, a gambling problem does not manifest itself in the form of observable indicators or body changes.
What Is Gambling Addiction And How Common Is It
Gambling addiction, also known as compulsive gambling, is a type of impulse-control disorder. In this way, it is similar to alcohol addiction and substance abuse disorders. Like those chemical dependencies caused by drug addiction, behavioral addictions like a gambling habit create a similar bio-chemical dependency where by dopamine release is stimulated by the brain's reward system due to the thrill of a "big win". While chemical dependencies can cause physical harm to the body, mental health conditions like this are no less damaging to the gambler's life if it goes untreated.
If someone has a gambling addiction, they will be unable to resist the urge to gamble, even if it means that they are putting themselves in financial or personal jeopardy. It is estimated that gambling addiction affects about 2 million people in the United States. However, it is likely that many more people suffer from mild gambling addiction that goes unnoticed because it falls outside of what most people think of when they consider what a compulsive gambler looks like.
For instance, we often think about that guy spending his last dollar on a craps table in a casino or scrambling for change to place a bet at an off-track betting OTB location because he has a "hot tip". Problem gamblers though come from all economic levels and while men typically gamble more often and more aggressively - 2.9% of women vs 4.2% of men in the United States can be considered problem gamblers.
Indeed, gambling takes many forms that are easily accessible in every state as well as through online apps and websites. This includes online casinos, purchasing a lottery ticket, scratch cards, eight-liner / fruit machines, horse racing, sports pools, and internet poker apps.
Some people can even exhibit compulsive gambling problems at church bingo games and charity fundraisers.
Even simple office pools and fantasy sports can be a type of gambling.
Individually, it is unlikely that any of these will cause financial difficulties because most people treat these activities as forms of entertainment and the amounts of money wagered is relatively small. Unfortunately, for too many people, just having a good time can turn into a mental health disorder that requires help.
Signs That Someone May Have A Gambling Problem
There are many warning signs that can indicate whether someone has a gambling problem. Some common ones include:
Gambling Regardless of the Cost
The person can't stop themselves from gambling despite rising economic hardship or legal problems. Individuals may still imagine that betting may help them overcome their money troubles, and they will want to squander their gambling money away in the hopes of hitting it big.
Regrettably, this will involve more than a massive loss for someone to stop gambling because gambling addicts get a euphoria when they win or lose.
Unfortunately, while you can certainly win occasionally, any organized form of gambling is designed to make the house - or host - win. As such, chasing a win can ultimately lead to financial ruin, relationship problems, and potentially even suicidal thoughts.
Lying About Your Gambling Habits
Telling lies to mask an obsession and related mechanisms is a classic sign of any addiction, and pathological gambling is no different. The need to gamble is so intense that the individual will go to any extent to make the next wager, which frequently involves lying about what they're doing, their location, and where their money has gone.
Sometimes pathological gamblers deceive themselves. Cognitive dissonance is a scientific term for a psychological process. Whenever people act in inconsistent ways with their principles or views about how they should act, it causes distress, known as cognitive dissonance.
Obsession With The Next Bet
Your significant other looks to be obsessed with gambling. They are always reminiscing about previous gambling adventures, particularly large victories. They're always on their computer or smartphone, wagering or playing games when you look away. They can't seem to stop regardless of how many times they vow they will. This uncontrollable urge is in one of the most obvious forms of compulsive behavior that most people associate with addictive behaviors in general.
Regrettably, technological improvements have made gambling far too convenient. People face major problems when gambling websites and applications take money directly from their bank accounts. It might be really difficult to quit with such regular and fast access.
Borrowing Money to Pay for Gambling
Lending cash to play is a big contributor to compulsive gamblers' money woes. They will exhaust conventional financing options, including a line of credit, a bank loan, or a mortgage. Then they might turn to high-interest loans like credit cards or illegal loan sharks. They are so intent on keeping wagering that they will go to any extent to have more cash, frequently hoping that good fortune will be on their side.
Getting Defensive About Gambling
When somebody is suspected of experiencing difficulties, the charge is probably true; they just haven't embraced it yet. In such cases, condemning them and reminding them how their obsession is destroying their life wouldn't get them to give you the reality. The greatest thing you can do is consult with a certified gambling therapist, who will be able to advise you on the best way to proceed.
Friends And Family Can Help Prevent Gambling Addiction
There are a few things that friends and family members can do to help prevent gambling addiction or help prevent it from being an issue that disrupts normal life.
-Talk to your children about gambling and the risks involved. Explain that gambling is not a way to make money, and that it can lead to serious financial problems.
-Monitor your partner's gambling behavior as well as that of other family members. Of course, if you gamble, do so responsibly and set limits on how much you are willing to spend.
-Encourage your loved ones to get help if they think they may have a gambling problem. Help them find professional help and resources like Gamblers Anonymous or the National Council on Problem Gambling. From here you can also seek other treatment options such as recovery centers.
If you think someone in your life may be struggling with gambling addiction, don’t hesitate to reach out for help and suggest support groups or even a treatment program. There are many resources available to gambling addicts and their families, and with the right support, anyone can overcome gambling addiction. In fact, seeking professional help is very important because identifying the compulsive gambling behavior may only be the first step in uncovering signs of other addictions that may have even more serious consequences.
Gambling addiction is a serious problem that can ruin lives, but there is hope for recovery. With the right support, anyone can overcome gambling addiction and go on to lead a happy and healthy life.
If you or someone you know is struggling with gambling addiction, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. There are people who care and want to see you get better. gambling addiction is a serious problem that can ruin lives, but there is hope for recovery. With the right support, anyone can overcome gambling addiction and go on to lead a happy and healthy life.
Has anyone in your household, friends, or colleagues voiced worry concerning your gambling? If that's the case, pay attention to their concerns. This might be tough for you to recognize that you have a problem because denial is usually a component of compulsive or obsessive behavior. Consider professional treatment if you identify any signs and symptoms of compulsive gambling in yourself.