Understanding Gambling Addiction and How to Overcome It

Gambling addiction can happen to anyone.

It may start from a fun and harmless hobby until it turned into an unhealthy obsession. You should never dismiss any signs of gambling problems. Being addicted to gambling has its negative effect not just to you. It can put a strain on your relationships and social life and can jeopardize your work and your financial status.

Before it’s too late, it’s important that you acknowledge that you have a problem. Understanding gambling addiction is one step towards healing.

What are Problem Gambling and Gambling Addiction?

Also known as compulsive gambling, gambling disorder or pathological gambling, gambling addiction is a type of impulse-control disorder. Having this condition means having the difficulty in controlling your impulse to gamble. You will gamble regardless of your situation and consequences.

Problem gambling is a gambling behavior that disrupts your life. You have a problem gambling if you’re spending more time and money gambling without acknowledging the serious consequences it brings.

Other behavioral or mood disorders are often associated with a gambling problem or addiction. Many people suffering from gambling addiction are also experiencing other conditions like ADHD, substance abuse, depression, stress, bipolar disorder or anxiety.

What Are The Signs and Symptoms of Gambling Addiction?

Some people refer gambling addiction as a “hidden illness”. This is because unlike other types of addiction, there are no physical signs or symptoms of gambling addiction. Most of the people that are suffering from gambling addiction deny the said problem.

So how would you know if you’re gambling has already gotten out of hand?

Below are some of the telltale signs.

  • Having trouble controlling gambling

Once you’ve sat on the table, do you have the capacity to walk away? Are you the type who won’t stop unless you’ve spent your last dollar? Are you consistently winning your lost money back by upping your bets?

  • Being secretive about gambling

You may feel the need to lie or become secretive when it comes to your gambling. You may tell your wife that you’re going on a 2-days training required by your company but you’re going to the casino instead. You either feel that people won’t understand your gambling habits or would judge you so it’s better to lie or be secretive about it.

  • Gamble even when you’ve already lost all of your money

People with gambling addiction feel the constant urge to gamble even when they don’t have money. You may gamble until you’ve lost your last dollar and then move on to the money you don’t have – credit cards, money allocated for bill payments. You would even sell your stuffs, borrow money or steal things. Having an addiction with gambling would not only empty your current finances but can also put you in too much debt.

  • Your family and friends are worried about you

If your family and friends are concerned about your gambling, chances are there is indeed a problem. Though some would initially get angry and become defensive, it’s important to listen to what your loved ones are saying. After all, they only want what’s best for you.

  • Psychological and Physical Symptoms

People with gambling addiction may also exhibit psychological symptoms such as anxiety, depression and even suicidal thoughts and tendencies. These emotional symptoms can lead to sleep deprivation. It can cause weight gain or loss, pale skin, acne and dark circles.

How does a person’s brain get addicted to gambling? Click here to know more how gambling can be addicting.

How to Overcome Gambling Addiction?

Gambling addiction is not a simple matter that you can just shrug off and hope that it would go away on its own.

The first step towards healing and reconciliation is acknowledging that you have a problem. It’s time to stop being in denial and accept the truth. Acceptance is certainly not an easy thing to do, however with tremendous courage and strength you can get over this stage.

Gambling problems may have strained your relationship, job security and finances. It’s hard to pick up the pieces of what you have broken. Instead of lamenting your loss, look at the brighter side and believe that you can get over your addiction and fix what was broken.

Here are some of the self-help tips towards overcoming your gambling addiction.

  • Resolve your underlying issues

Are you gambling whenever you feel bored, lonely or tired? Do you feel it’s your relief from stress and anxiety?

Though you may find temporary relief from these feelings when you gamble, know that gambling is not the solution to your problem. Acknowledge what you feel and find ways on how to resolve it. Examine why you’re lonely and do something that you love to lift up your mood. Resolve any issues or conflicts with your wife, boss, and co-workers.

Gambling will only add tremendous weight to your problems. Resolve your issues first-hand so that you won’t have the urge to gamble.

  • Find a support network

You are not alone on this feat. You would be having a hard time getting over your addiction if you face it alone.

Reach out to your support group. Be it your partner, family, friends or some co-workers. Find some people who truly care for you and reach out to them. If you have a limited support group, you can make new friends. Try volunteering for a cause or joining a book club or sports team. Being surrounded by people who care for you will help you towards recovery.

  • Join a peer support group

If there’s Alcoholics Anonymous, there’s also Gamblers Anonymous. Joining this type of support group will expose you to people who are going through the same phase. Hearing their stories will give you strength that addiction is real and can be overcome.

  • Seek help for underlying mood disorders

Gambling problems and addiction can be triggered by stress, depression, anxiety or substance abuse. Seek professional help as it’s important that you address them.

Gambling is supposed to be a fun and safe activity.           to learn how to be a responsible gambler.

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