The Problem of Gambling addiction
Gambling is a kind of game with the intent of winning money or other material goods. The main excitement in gambling is the process but not the result which depends mostly on luck or circumstances. That’s why most people who take part in it become addicted because they want to try their luck and earn a win most easily. It is a tricky path before this excitement becomes an addiction. So the main attractive thing in the whole process is that there is an element of coincidence.
Traditional types of gambling include sports betting, lottery, gaming machines, and online gambling. Nowadays online gambling is getting even more widespread and popular as in some countries casinos have become illegal and people have no way to attend it. There are many types of newly invented types of online gambling. Among them you can find online trading, investing, online auctions, games that include purchases, and so on. This means that now it is even easier to become gambling-addicted because it’s quite publicly available and everyone can try it anytime.
Although the meaning of gambling addiction differs among countries, most of the professional organizations came to a few conclusions about it and they recommend a few ways of self-help in such situations.
- Talk to your close friends or relatives to receive emotional support or advice. Do not be afraid to discuss your problem.
- Visit an anonymous meeting for gamblers to discuss this problem.
- Do not start the next game as soon as possible, let more time pass, and probably it will help to decrease your desire.
- Try to avoid self-isolation and be in society and communication as much as possible.
- Distract yourself from your hobbies or other activities but not alcohol or stuff like that.
- Think about it deeply by imagining yourself in a game and what you feel during playing, which emotions you can get there and how you will feel after it. Just analyze all the stages of this process and you definitely will conclude for yourself.
Even if we know what gambling is, why people like it, there is no exact answer to the question about what can cause this habit because there are many reasons that can influence this, including mental condition, family affairs, and so on. But scientists divided all of them into several groups which describe the nature of a person’s addiction.
So, the first group of factors is psychological, which mostly includes the way people think. For example, they live with this delusion that everything is just a matter of luck and the fact that they lose will change soon and they will win, they downplay their money or material loss and don’t take those playing habits seriously, hoping for better. In other words, these people don’t live in reality but live in this exact process and moment of excitement.
It has been investigated that betting addiction is biological, the same as other drug addiction. An addicted person gets a dose of hormones of happiness (serotonin) and adrenaline hormones during the process, so that makes her/him want to be back to this again. This mental disorder can appear genetically as well. It is already proven that people who have addicted relatives or family members are more sensitive to disorders, both genetically and mentally at the same time.
Without any doubt, there are social reasons for it, which include external social circumstances which surround a person and have an influence on moral condition. Stress, difficulties at work, conflicts at home could cause such behavior of an addicted person. There is a connection between betting dependency and mental problems, such as depression, loneliness, lack of support, and communication. Self-isolation and anti-socialization influence gambling increasing. Don’t forget that addiction can appear genetically so even children can suffer from it.
Gambling habits can appear based on different accompanying diseases such as alcohol and drug addiction, depressive and anxiety disorders. This happens because all of the above-said disorders influence the brain and a person becomes vulnerable.
When it starts to bring problems at work, financial difficulties, and conflicts in family and relationships, it is a ‘red’ light. A person loses understanding of consequences and cannot stop this behavior even when it hurts close people and family members. That is the most spread scenario but not everyone does the same. At this moment gambling becomes an addiction, similar to other serious disorders, such as drugs and alcohol addiction which requires professional help and emotional support. That is why gambling game addiction is classified as a mental health disease.
When you have already found out that you are in trouble, it is useful to understand how hard your condition is because not all bad habits are very strong and with some of them it is quite easy to deal with. There are main different types of gambling addiction depending on their stage and condition, let’s figure it out.
Professional gambler considers gambling as a full occupation and takes it as seriously as work. They do not rely on luck as amateurs, they rely on calculations and numbers, it is a kind of brain activity for them, that’s why they do not recognize the presence of disorder in their behavior.
Problem gambling is more about habits that people have and which they can’t control so they influence everyday life badly. It could be exciting betting and hiding it from family, for example. These people will slowly realize that they can’t live without it. It will be a long way to recovery and treatment in this situation.
Intrusive gambling is the worst stage when someone is unable to control him/herself concerning playing. These people tend to continue gambling no matter which results they will receive because the process has already become like a dose of a drug for them. They can’t control this desire and will do it by all means. At the same time, they don’t see any problem with this behavior.
Bender gambling is even more dangerous in some ways because these people don’t show their intrusive addiction for most of the time, but only when they start to play or bet it comes out. They tend to hide this addiction when it’s needed so it could be invisible for years. During this hiding, the problem can get worse and turn into a serious psychological condition.
According to this classification, you can discover the form of the habit and realize how serious it is or not. It will help to choose the right way of further actions in the direction of recovery.
How to recognize bad Gambling habits?
It is always not easy to reveal this addiction, you need to watch yourself carefully and if you find at least four described below points, you should seek any help. The following list is just a start in revealing the issue, the best way to solve it is to find professional help from a specialist such as a psychotherapist or a psychiatrist. They will make a full diagnosis of your condition and also check if a person has other mental disorders because such people are very sensitive to such kinds of diseases.
These points include:
- Perpetual thinking about gambling, obsession with gambling;
- Failure to quit gambling several times and returning to this activity;
- Starting to be irritated when trying to stop it;
- Playing when you feel depressed or helpless, when you need something cheer you up;
- Becoming more excited when you gamble for ever-larger amounts of money, each time increasing the rates;
- Putting in jeopardy your relationship, family connections, friendship, and work relations.
- Craving for revenge even after losing a great amount of money
- Relying your responsibility on others concerning financial problems and paying debts after losing.
This list is just a first step in revealing the problem, the best way to deal with it is to find professional help from a specialist such as a psychotherapist or a psychiatrist. They will make a full diagnosis of your condition and also check if a person has other mental disorders because such people are very sensitive to such kinds of diseases.
If you feel that you have some previous symptoms or your family members, friends started to notice your strange behavior – do not hesitate to seek help!
The addiction may not seem to be visible because some people are very able to hide it from society or mask it very skillfully. But always remember to be attentive to such kinds of things and take care of your close people.
At the beginning of the problem, it is important to know some important information that is useful to know about gambling and with this knowledge, it will be easier not to get into this trap. Not many people pay enough attention to this kind of disorder, that is why many delusions exist concerning gambling addiction. The following delusions are:
- Strong and responsible people do not tend to have gambling problems.
- The best way to help an addicted person is to pay losses or debts.
- Gambling is not dangerous if you can afford to pay your losses without any problem;
- It is not a problem if someone does not play permanently.
- Only adults can have a gambling addiction.
Based on the above-said myths, we can give the real facts which you can face:
- Overcoming financial difficulties won’t solve the problem itself, it’s just a way to reduce consequences. That’s why close people have to search for professional assistance for their loved ones.
- Gambling is a serious disorder that anyone can have and it leads to irresponsible actions, they can be tiny and not noticeable at first.
- For some people with a better financial status, it is not that difficult to pay their losses but it can last forever and there will be a time when the person will earn less than they spend. Also, it can lead to ignoring jobs and problems at work in general.
- Someone cannot notice addictive behavior if they gamble only on special occasions but there is always a risk to start doing it more often.
- Children can start gambling by the way of mobile games and family members’ addiction can affect them in the future. They tend to have mental disorders, depressions, or other types of addiction.
We suggest you pay attention to the described facts and consider them when you start to suspect any exhibits of coming addiction, save them as tips for the future.
Consequences of gambling
It is obvious that gambling addiction has negative effects on different aspects of life and some of them are not very visible. They affect the financial condition, mental health, and personal relationships. Let’s look at them in more detail.
Constant betting and playing for money can lead to financial difficulties, huge debts, and even full bankruptcy, people can use all of their activities, realty, savings, and cars. This can cause even law problems because some people start to defy the law by stealing money or other material values to continue their habits. That is why we can say gambling and financial conditions have a direct connection.
Mental health is one of the most important areas which is affected by gambling addiction. The overexcited person tends to have mental strain because which actions are made under this effect can lead to a problem with career or relationship. Some mental disorders can appear during this addiction such as depression and apathy and can even lead to suicide.
Without any doubt, the family of an addicted person suffers a lot and there tends to be domestic violence. Children are especially under this pressure and they can have mental disorders, depression, behavioral problems, drug or alcohol addiction in the future.
How to stop gambling for good
For most gamblers, it became more difficult to put themselves on the way to recovery than to stop this activity. They don’t want to realize this problem and each day it is becoming more difficult not to have a relapse.
We will suggest some most effective ways to help an addicted person overcome the problem.
Interference is one of the most frequently used methods in the rehab process. This action is made from the family members’ side when they show their concern about his/her behavior in a very worried and tender manner. This method is not directly effective but it has a huge influence on the whole process and helps a person to realize that he/she needs to seek professional assistance. Use a positive and lovely manner to express your worries, don’t be rude or judging. It is better to have some professional recommendations before starting this intervention.
There is no one straightway to seek treatment but we suggest you start by explaining the consequences that this way of behavior causes in a family and work. Make this person picture how life can be if he/she will continue to gamble. It can be the first step for more responsible people to understand how serious it can be and which consequences can wait for them. This method can help people to take gambling as an addiction and think about it seriously.
It could be difficult to define the addiction of your family member or beloved. That is why below we give you some tips on how you can recognize the hidden problem: your close person started to lie more often about her/his betting; started to spend more time gambling and make bigger bets; sacrificing your relationship for gambling; wasting more money on gambling and don’t pay bills; often borrowing money and selling personal stuff. If you noticed any of the described behavior you should start to help and support this person. Don’t be afraid to offer your help first because these people usually are shy to tell you about their concerns. Be friendly and don’t judge, it can harm a person even more. You should be supportive and educated in this process, find a professional therapist and special group meetings, and take part during the whole process of treatment. Do not choose the easiest way and do not pay the debt instead of this person, but offer financial consultation to resolve this issue.
Unfortunately, there is no single effective treatment for this affliction. It should be a mix of therapist assistance, some medical treatment, and emotional support.
The first and the main thing on the way to stop gambling addiction is psychotherapy. Mostly because a person who has this kind of addiction also has other mental disorders, so a professional therapist will be able to provide a full course of recovery from those related mental health issues at the same time.
Talking about medical treatment, there is no direct medicine that helps to stop it but some of them are likely to reduce the feeling of excitement, such as antidepressants and special pills used for other addictions.
Another effective way to stop the addiction is visiting special Anonymous meetings. Together with psychotherapy, it helps to overcome this gambling addiction because during those meetings people can exchange their experiences and talk about common problems, connected by the spirit of recovery.
It is quite easy to find some of the most popular resources which can offer a different kind of help. Organizations that offer such kind of help provide people with all necessary information very openly. Even companies that provide legalized gambling mostly have a list of resources on their websites, where you can choose the support you prefer more. It can range from supporting group meetings to a professional course of therapy with qualified doctors. If you need to talk or plan your course, these options are always available. In some countries, the government covers all the costs connected with addiction treatment. There is a list of worldwide hotlines in different countries around the world which you can easily find on the internet.
We strongly recommend you do not hesitate to seek help and always play responsibly.