A Comprehensive Guide To Gambling Addiction
Americans spend billions of dollars each year on gambling, and a small fraction of these people become addicted to the game. Gambling addiction can not only ruin you financially, but can have devastating effects on your personal relationships and emotional status. Read our comprehensive guide to gambling addiction to learn more!
At first, it can be difficult to distinguish between gambling as an entertaining pastime from a compulsive addiction. Someone who is addicted to gambling can have many of the same symptoms of someone addicted to drugs and alcohol. From loss of control to withdrawal, compulsive gamblers often show an increased preoccupation with gambling, a need to bet more money frequently, and irritability when attempting to stop the behavior. Like with any addiction, gambling can be controlled with a proper addiction treatment plan.
Recognizing Signs and Symptoms
People suffering from pathological gambling often feel guilty or ashamed of their behavior, and therefore avoid letting other people know about their problem. Compulsive gamblers may commit crimes to get money for gambling, use gambling as a way to escape their problems or feelings of anxiety or sadness, and may feel irritable and restless when trying to quit gambling. Problem gamblers often lie about the amount of money or time spent gambling, and may make many unsuccessful attempts when trying to cut back or quit. It’s not uncommon for a problem gambler to spend a lot of time thinking about gambling, such as remembering past experiences or looking for new ways to make money to gamble.
- Compulsive Gambling Symptoms
- Gambling Addiction & Problem Gambling
- Signs of Problem Gambling
- Problem Gambling: Recognizing the Signs [PDF]
Many people who gamble for recreational reasons believe they will never fall victims to gambling addiction. While gambling may start off as a fun trip to the casino, it can quickly spiral out of control for some. There are a number of misconceptions about gambling which can make it difficult to determine if you or a loved one is truly addicted. One common misconception is that compulsive gamblers engage in gambling every day. The frequency of gambling has no connection to an addiction. What signals an addiction is the inability to stop, whether you go daily, weekly or monthly. Other myths state that a compulsive gambler will bet on anything, is a thief or criminal, and enjoy risks in all areas of their lives – all of which are untrue.
- Gambling Myths
- How the Brain Gets Addicted to Gambling
- Myths About Problem Gambling
- Pathological Gambling
Understanding Why People Gamble
People gamble for a wide range of reasons. Some are simply trying to “win big”, while others may play to try and win back lost money. Gambling is also a risk-taking activity and many compulsive gamblers love the thrill of the game. Other gamblers may partake in gambling on impulse or to try and feel better about themselves. When life is hard, some people will gamble to try and escape depression, loneliness, anxiety, or other unpleasant feelings. Gambling can act as a distraction from emotional and physical pain.
- Why Do I Gamble?
- Why Do People Gamble Too Much?
- Gambling Addiction Can Be Spotted in the Brain
- Frequently Asked Questions: Gambling!
- Problem Gambling
Many problem gamblers seek counseling or therapy to help change their unhealthy gambling behaviors and cope with urges to play. Compulsive gamblers often find success after entering an addiction treatment center, where qualified counselors and behavior modification therapists provide patients with ways to manage their problems and resist the urge to gamble. Depending on the severity of the problem, patients have the option between residential treatment and outpatient rehab.
- Concerned About a Loved One’s Gambling?
- Treatments for Compulsive Gambling
- Losing Everything to Gambling Addiction
- Gambling Addictions
Making Healthy Lifestyle Choices
Making healthy lifestyle changes is an essential part of gambling addiction recovery. It’s important to stay away from triggers that could potentially cause you to gamble, such as friends who encourage you to place monetary bets. Once you have made the decision to cease all gambling activity, it’s important to have supportive people in your life that will help you in your recovery. Use free time once used for gambling on more fulfilling activities, such as a fitness class. Set new goals so that you have something to look forward to and work towards these goals every day.
- Pathological Gambling
- Gambling and Health in the Workplace [PDF]
- Compulsive Gambling
- Problem and Compulsive Gambling
- Internet Gambling Addiction
Learning to Resist Cravings
With any type of addiction, it’s natural to get cravings. While these cravings can be difficult to resist at first, it will get easier over time. Get involved with a gambling group where you can talk to other people who share the same feelings and behaviors. When learning to resist these urges, it can be helpful to think about the consequences of your actions. Gambling does not only affect you negatively, but can also be hard on your family and other people who care about you and your wellbeing.
- Let’s Talk About Cravings
- Cravings and Triggers
- Gambling: Advice for Family and Friends
- Dealing with Problem Gambling [PDF]
- Problem Gambling
By Angela Lambert