Gambling addiction is just like any other addiction, and it should not be taken lightly. It’s a biopsychological disorder that can be identified through a list of symptoms and requires a specific treatment type. Problem gambling is mostly associated with loss of control. It could happen to anyone, but it can also result from other damaging factors like unhealthy relationships, alcohol, drugs, etc. It all depends on the person and the surrounding environment. In some cases, the addiction is birthed after a challenging time in that person’s life, as he uses gambling as an escape boat from the harsh reality. Some others seek validation from their inner circle, and some are just adrenaline junkies seeking a thrill.
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Several symptoms point directly at gambling addiction. If you think you might have developed an unhealthy habit, don’t waste any time and seek professional help. It’s better to start treatment before the addiction grows stronger. Here are the signs that help us recognize whether gambling addiction is present:
- If one’s mind is always preoccupied with everything gambling-related. Do you think about the game way too much? Planning ways to play, looking for money, ignoring other responsibilities in favor of playing. If you check these boxes, you might need to start thinking about the possibility of addiction.
- Addicts tend to increase the amount of money each time they bet. This is usually to cover up previous losses caused by excessive gambling. Players with that problem often say they want to “get even,” but the desired result is not always achieved. Trying to get your money back may result in even more losses and a severe and unhealthy obsession with the casino.
- Losing control to the point where you cannot resist gambling. Much like alcoholics can’t stay away from alcohol, gambling addicts gamble daily, or even every time they get an urge.
- Being addicted has a significant negative impact on personal relationships. This is mainly due to the addict lying and hiding their actions and emotions from their loved ones. All of this can lead to a strained relationship, including occasional fights and even losing a partner or getting distanced from a family member. That is why it’s better to share your feeling with the people closest to you from the start. Be honest with details like the amount of time you spend in the casino or the amount of money spent.
- Addiction can also affect your professional life. Issues in the workplace may arise mainly due to the addict’s lousy performance. If you can’t concentrate properly or skip work to play, you should definitely take measures. Failing to do so may get you fired.
- Have you ever tried to stop gambling, but you come back every time eventually? Unsuccessful attempts to stop could be a sign you should not ignore. After all, gambling addiction is like any other. Think of smoking, for example. Many smokers try to quit, but in the end, they can’t resist the temptation. It’s the same with gambling. Similarly, such attempts to stop cause irritation or a bad mood.
- Addicts often use gambling as a way to cope with negative emotions. Similar to alcoholics using drinks to feel better, gamblers bet to escape their problems. Adrenaline and dopamine rushing through the brain can be mistaken for happiness.
- Addiction can worsen to the point where people desperately try to get more money for a deposit. Stealing from family, asking for loans, or even getting involved in illegal activities are all symptoms of heavy addiction.
- Denying that there is a problem. This is a common issue with people who go through addiction. Once you’re too deep into the unhealthy lifestyle, your perception of reality might differ from what it actually is.
Like with other addictions, admitting is the first step in the process of treatment. You have to be open to change and get better before you proceed with everything else. Don’t shut out any of your friends, family members, or your partner. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Treatment is easier when there is someone by your side who is willing to support you and your recovery. Such help can be found in support groups as well. They are filled with people who have gone through the same thing and understand the struggles that come with addiction. This creates a more intimate space where no one is judgmental. You can also find comfort through professional help. Therapy is a great way to battle addiction as it goes in-depth with the problem and roots that may have caused such a disorder. If addiction comes with depression or other mental health issues, some medicaments might help. However, do not self-diagnose. Make sure you have consulted with a professional.
You may relapse. This is normal for someone battling addiction. The temptation will always be present. However, it’s essential to control that as much as you can. There are several ways to prevent relapse from happening. Once again, make sure that you share everything with someone you trust. Don’t hide your urges because the battle will be lonely and way more complicated. Friends and family will always want the best for you and make sure you get back on track. As we mentioned, therapy is one of the best options. It can help with this, too, as long as you open your mind and let your guard down. The road is long and full of obstacles, but it will all be worth it in the end.
All in all, gambling addiction is dangerous, but the most important thing is to realize the issue and eliminate it as soon as possible. Several symptoms may help you identify the disorder. Don’t look past them. If you worry that you might qualify for any of these things, reach for help.