Gambling addiction or “compulsive gambling” can be classified as an impulsive-control disorder.
Compulsive gamblers are unable to control themselves even when they are aware of the negative impact their gambling could inflict on their lives. Another type of condition that falls under the condition is problem gambling. It creates behavioral problems in the addict’s personality that interferes with various spheres of the addict’s life. Constant preoccupation with gambling, tendency of spending excessive money and time on gambling, chasing losses and gambling in spite of undesirable consequences are signs of problem gambling.
Addiction to gambling is sometimes denoted as ‘hidden illness’ for the lack of apparent physical symptoms and sign as in the case of alcohol or drug addiction. Problem gamblers are experts at minimizing or hiding their problems. They can go to any extent to keep their gambling habit a secret.
Do You Have a Problem?
You might be becoming a victim of gambling problem if:
- You feel the necessity to conceal your gambling habit – You might lie to your friends, family and co-workers about the time or money you spend in gambling thinking they wouldn’t understand and you could someday surprise them with a jackpot.
- You are having troubling in controlling the urge to gamble – Do you have what it takes to walk away once you begin gambling? Or do you constantly find yourself in a situation till you are left with the last dollar, increasing your bets in order to win back the lost money?
- You find yourself gambling even when you don’t have the money – Even after gambling up to your last dollar, do you feel the urge to gamble? Do you use the money allotted for paying bills and other purposes for gambling? Do you borrow or steal to gamble? If yes, you have gotten yourself into a viscous circle. Even though you may strongly believe gambling is the only way to get back the money you have lost, it will only take you further deep into the problem.
- Your family/friends/relatives begin to get worried about your gambling habit – Denial keeps your habit of gambling going. If you find your friends and family worried, its time you listen to them. Focus on the areas of life that gambling is affecting. Don’t consider asking for help a sign of weakness.
Does Your Loved One Have a Gambling Problem?
If your friend, family member or a co-worker has a gambling problem, you might find them:
- Becoming excessively defensive about their habit of gambling – The deeper problem gamblers are into the habit, the more they become defensive about their habit by justifying it as the only way to win money. Your dear one might even blame you for the habit and tell you that they are doing it for your sake and you should trust.
- Suddenly becoming secretive about finances and money – They might develop a sudden desire or urge to manage the finances of household. There might be lack of finances in the household for expenditures other than gambling although the income remains the same. Assets and savings might magically disappear or there could be unexplainable cash advances or loans.
- Becoming suddenly desperate for money to invest in gambling – There might be a rise in credit card bills or you might notice them borrowing money from others. Items that can be easily pawned like jewelry might disappear mysteriously.
Although you have discovered that you/ your loved one might be in a huge problem, like any other addiction gambling has treatment methods too.
Whether it is a gambling addiction in teen or adults, it takes a great courage to own up to it, especially after losing a great deal of money and straining a lot of relationships. It’s necessary to understand that recovery process cannot be completed alone. Gambling, although a dangerous habit is not a capital crime and gambling addiction index states that 80 percent American adults have involved in it at least once in their life. So if you feel you have gone a little too far, be willing to take the help of your loved ones to be back on track. If you see your loved ones suffering from the problem, offer a helping hand and suggest options like gamblers anonymous programs. Joining such support groups and taking help from gamblers anonymous members, can definitely bring about a positive change.