Problem gambling: play safe

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Modified: 19/10/2018

Having an addiction to gambling is more common than you may think- in fact, estimates say that more than three million people in the United Kingdom alone have a significant, damaging gambling addiction. Like any other harmful addiction, gambling can be dangerous to relationships, career, and family and may very well result in financial disaster. If you realize that gambling has become a significant problem in your life, then you are on the right path toward overcoming gambling addiction and gaining control of your life.

Where to search for gambling help?

Problem gambling vs compulsive gambling

Problem gambling (ludomania) is a behavior caused by gambling, which might affect one’s physical, psychological, mental, or vocational life. Problem gambling is an urging gambling behavior or the desire to gamble without minding the negative effects or the negative consequences this might cause the person. Problem gambling is usually defined as whether dangerous or harmful event is experienced by one gambler or others, rather saying the harm is experienced by the gambler’s behavior.

Problem gambling does include the condition related to pathological or compulsive gambling, on the other hand. Severe or the excessive practice of this problem gambling is clinically diagnosed as pathological gambling when the gambler meets specific criteria related.

Pathological gambling

Pathological gambling is considered as an impulse control disorder rather than a certain kind of addiction. Problem gambling is not limited to compulsive gambling because compulsive gambling is sometimes considered as a type of progressive addiction that is recognized by increasing involvement in gambling, leading to increase of the need in betting more money in more frequent times. With this, this also leads to restlessness and irritability when starting or trying to stop the used gambling behavior despite the bad consequences or disadvantages.

Compulsive gambling

For a certain individual to be diagnosed having problem gambling or more severely having compulsive gambling, he must exhibit at least some of the following symptoms such as having thoughts about gambling, the feeling of being restless or irritated once he reduced the practice of gambling, lying or hiding the extent of gambling as will be mentioned later, and also the total loss of control to stop the exercise of reducing the said addiction or the gambling.

Addicted person

The person who is much more addicted to gambling also shows the behavior of any other addicted people. He will not consider himself as a gambling addict, or even refuse to be one. Sometimes, he finds his own way to gamble though it will surely destroy any aspect in his life. He may be borrowing money or do some illegal considerations just to support this kind of addiction. Problem gambling considered severe which is the compulsive gambling becomes a type of obsession of the person having that problem gambling. He cannot sleep at night thinking about gambling or becoming restless thinking that he might lose to gamble. Because of these, the person’s whole life is affected, starting from his work, relationships, family, also the use of money and time, suffering more in his current situation.

With problem gambling, compulsive gamblers continue to waste money because they recklessly chase the losses not minding even the debt grows continuously too or becoming more problematic as time passes by. These gamblers usually find it hard to accept the loss and really difficult to stop or let go of the addiction. The winning experiences will excite more the addicted person making him bet more like any other addicts undergoing the addiction.

Treatment

The treatment for problem gambling includes counseling from a physician, programs related to self-help keeping away from the addiction, medications recommended, and also support from peers. But, no treatment or approved medication is considered to be effective to treat such problem gambling.

Symptoms of gambling addiction

Gambling once in a while is in one way or another form of recreation for some. By nature, we love to bet, we love to take risks and the high feeling that goes with it. Gambling, however, can get a person to indulge than what is normal and moral. When the act becomes a habit and starts to interfere with the physical, personal, psychological, vocational or social aspects of a person’s life – that’s the time it starts to become an addiction and the time the person exhibits the symptoms of gambling addiction. The worst thing about the symptoms of gambling addiction shows no obvious outward symptoms to let the gambler, or his family members realize that a symptom of gambling addiction is already there. They often term gambling addiction as a “hidden illness”. Usually signs starts subtly, one may not even realize it until it reaches massive heights and gets out of hand. There are several ways to identify if someone is experiencing the addiction problem or the symptoms of gambling addiction and thus may need to seek help.

Symptoms gambling can either be personal or general. Personal symptoms of gambling can be

  • Stress, anxiety, depression, restlessness and getting angry especially when prevented from gambling. This is one the symptoms gambling addiction that involves the effects on the emotional aspects of the gambler.
  • Constant obsession on gambling
  • Unexplained asking/ need for money. Worst comes to worst, the person uses funds that are not even his, like the money to pay for bills or for children’s education. Notice that the person tends to sell items just to keep up with gambling. This is one of the serious symptoms gambling addiction affecting the financial situation of the person negatively. The person is pushed to borrow, steal or sometimes sell things to get the gambling money. The person sincerely believes that gambling more money is the only means to recoup lost money back. The cycle is vicious until there is no way out.
  • Feelings of despair and worthlessness. A feeling of denial creeps in. Family member and loved ones are worried about the sudden changes in behavior but still you don’t listen.
    Estrangement from friend, love ones and even career. Another one that can be included in the list of the symptoms of gambling addiction when many times the person becomes too preoccupied with the habit which leads to failure on their social skills and relationships. Married couples will often fight about the situation and gamblers tend to be defensive and argumentative.
  • Privacy in affairs related to money and finances. The person develops the desire to gain control over finances to sustain his gambling needs.
  • Dishonesty. Gambling addicts tend to be secretive about how often they gamble and how much are their losses. The person tends to brag about the wins but doesn’t talk about the losses.

General symptoms of gambling or symptoms of gambling addiction summarized include

  • Overdue or unpaid bills. Due to the person’s addiction, even money not his own is being spent to sustain the urge to gamble. The person incurs unexplained cash advances or loans. The person lacks money despite steady earnings and expenses.
  • Increase in spending habits especially an increase on credit card usage. A red flag is when desperation comes in to recover losses. Gambling even when you don’t have the money comes in the way.
  • Missing valuables such as jewelry or cash as well missing credit card or bank statements.
  • Increase of calls or letters from credit collectors.

Who are gambling addicts?

Money talks. Easy money often leads to a bad vice which is gambling. Gambling is an act of risking something and expecting to either lose or win at the end. Technically, monetary gambling would be the most popular of them all. Gambling addicts just place their bets according to what they feel would make them win. It can be lottery, playing cards, casino, etc. People have unsatisfying desire for things that is why the term “gamble” has been included in our dictionary. Those that are attached to this activity is called gambling addicts.

Easy way to earn money

Yes, this can become an addiction for those who want easy money. Earning something in just a blink of an eye is indeed really overwhelming. Who are actually those gambling addicts? Where can we find them? These are some of the questions we are curious about. First, a gambling addict is the one who gambles just for fun and personal interest.

Gambling as business

Second, they can be those that are considering this act to be a business. It’s sad but that is the reality.

Killing time

Third, they became addict since it is their means to kill time and forget temporarily any problems they are facing right now. It is like some sort of a DIVERT-YOUR-ATTENTION thing.

Whatever the reasons that make them a certified gambling addict is something that we can’t be judgmental of. There are reasons for everything that we do. The only thing that matters in the end is how well we will be able to handle the consequences equal to the actions taken prior. We see these gamblers everywhere where we can find playing cards laid down on the table. In the center is the money that will be granted to the winner.

Early signs of addiction

Let us not forget the long line we see every day in a lottery station especially if the jackpot is in millions. Here, we see gambling addicts shading the circle that corresponds to the number of their choice. Now that we are in a modern world, then online casinos are in. All you have to do is to point your cursor to the corresponding target number and then click. Everyone can be a victim of gambling. It is irresistible.

It can be compared to a drug that once inhaled, you can never be normal without taking in it again. Moms, minors, dads, students and even the person just sitting right beside you in a public vehicle can be certified experts in this field. We see gambling addicts having regrets about what have they done. Their family, work and almost their entire life were ruined. Innocent people are affected unintentionally.

The individual whose life is with the gambling world is someone that is already given the title to be a gambling addict. Too much is bad in every aspect. The bottom line, actions should be taken into considerations during the early signs of addiction. This would make it easier for the gambling addict to reroute her way back to the right path. It is still going to be his own decision. A gambling addict is still a person that needs to be treated equally.

What causes gambling addiction?

Similar to alcoholism, gambling addiction is considered an illness. Usually, the sickness starts at young age and if left untreated, can lead to destructive behaviors that are detrimental to his relationship to one’s self, family and the community. It leads to ill behaviors that include poor money supervision, theft, work-abandonment problems and severed family relationships.

What causes gambling can be many and generally, the effects are also multi-fold. It strains your relationships, interfere with responsibilities at home and job, and leads to financial difficulties. What causes gambling is said to be unique and a case to case basis on every individual concerned. Each one will have different reasons and causes in developing the gambling problem, and no two circumstances are the same. There is no way to exactly determine the reasons and what causes gambling addiction.

For the religious, what causes gambling is covetousness which involves the wanting to take a risk which is twisted by the longing to get something out of nothing. This makes gambling not only a vice but a major evil that plagues our society.

Here’s few of what causes gambling addition

  • Feeling of excitement causes gambling. It gives an adrenaline rush which can cause the person to become easily addicted to these “feel good” chemical rush in our brain. A big casino win usually heightens the propensity to addiction of an individual.
  • Psychological reasons causes gambling such as deprived social life, lonesomeness, job dissatisfaction, lack of purpose and boredom. To seek “escape” from any emotional suffering can also fuel gambling addiction. This includes addiction with lottery, slot machines and online internet gambling. Some people, mostly male and sports better has a passion for action such as in the case of “action gamblers”, these individuals are poker players and racetrack betters.
  • Emotional or psychological issues also cause gambling such that it can often be an outlet out of these ill feelings and frustrations. At least temporarily, they are able to forget the problem and achieve a way to find escape.
  • Thrill of easy money also causes gambling. The high that people get from winning is what makes this addictive; people can get to the point that they chase the win and or continue to bet until they win back their losses.
  • Genetic causes. People with relatives that have gambling disorders will most likely inherit the same addiction too.
  • Immaturity. Most chronic gamblers refuse to behave responsibly. They are immature, not confident and are detached from reality.
  • What causes gambling are also attributed with age. Often, men who gambles are in their mid to late teenage years and usually, they do it for the thrill of it. Women, on the other hand, is said to start in their 20s or 30s, usually due to stress from work or home.

What causes gambling needs to be established so that a person can finally seek immediate help. There are suites of treatment or assistance that a person, with a heart to turn away from such addiction, can take in to consideration. These include: seeking professional help, abstinence from gambling, proper support groups, lifestyle change and of course self help.

How to stop gambling?

Gambling is an act of betting your money without minding if you will win or lose. This may lead to addiction if it is too much. It is necessary to know when to stop gambling before it goes into your nerves and becomes part of your system. The phrase “stop gambling” entails negative impact for those that are into it. There should be systematic processes to successfully withdraw one’s self from gambling addiction. This may never be easy especially for those that are involved. To stop gambling means to stop living. This is pretty much how they feel talking about quitting from it.

Advisor

First step to help them stop gambling is by giving pieces of advice. We are not in a communist country so we should exercise freedom of speech and freedom to decide for your own. Advises are just guidelines that a person can consider in making tough decisions. Next would be considering putting words into actions. This requires willingness about completing your goal – to stop gambling. No questions asked. This is one of the most crucial parts.

Sports and other activities

One should be able to come up finding or doing something to divert them from gambling. Sports and hanging out with friends are few things that are commonly becoming ways of starting your change.

Rehabilitation program

Third, a person should still seek the help of science for this matter. The experts always say that they can help scientifically. Examples of such supports are counseling and rehabilitation programs. If you are dead serious to stop gambling then stop having second thoughts. Go to the nearest specialists that can provide relative assistance for you. Sit down with them and be honest about telling when and how it started.

Honesty from your responses will help them provide you effective solutions. Lastly, consult with him. To stop gambling means to stop yourself from doing it again. Pray hard to him and think of the outcome of what you are doing against his will.

How to do the first step?

Gambling is just one of those bad vices that can make an individual miserable or definitely rich in just a matter of quick seconds. If you know somebody who is into gambling, then this is the right time for you to do the first step. Advice him to stop it. Make him realize he needs to change. This is it. Do the first move to make him change. Money is really tempting and true enough, gambling can give us more money but it is wrong.

Making a change for the better is not as easy as disposing things that you don’t need at home. It takes time, effort and strong will. We are prone to commit mistakes. It is not how bad you are in the past that will determine your future but how persistent you are to work on your present to make things right. It is the right time for you to stop gambling. It is now that you need to consider things that will help you to stop gambling. If not now, then when will you stop gambling?

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