Even if you gamble once a month and spend only the money you can afford to spend, you’re still not invulnerable to gambling addiction – and you might even already be well on the path to the 1% of the population suffering from a severe gambling problem. But the good news is that gambling addiction can be prevented by merely acknowledging it – which you can start by reading this suggestive piece and then maybe researching the topic on your own after.
Does Gambling Addiction Even Exist?
First of all, to acknowledge the problem, you want to make sure it’s not far-fetched. For decades gambling addiction was classified as impulse control disorder – that is, a failure to resist a temptation – but now it’s a fact that gambling addiction is close to drug addiction as both develop in the brain, changing it along the way by affecting the peculiar regions responsive for pleasure, memory, and motivation – the same ones the drug addicts stimulate by intaking amphetamine, cocaine, and other drugs.
Takeaway: not only does gambling addiction exist, but it works just like drug addiction: by playing at your casino online, you stimulate the release of dopamine, which causes the euphoria you don’t want to part with.
How To Recognize Gambling Addiction
The symptoms are on the very surface, but it’s always hard to admit you have them. These are ever-increasing wagers, lack of budget management, gambling in secret, irritation when losing money and desire to win it back, playing to escape problems or suppress feelings, as well as more severe and obvious ones.
All the patterns become more destructive over time and usually cause repercussions. A typical gambling addict would keep playing until losing all the money and then resort to borrowing, theft, or fraud to get more funds to play, repeating the cycle over and over again.
Takeaway: even a gambling teetotal may have some signs of addiction, which doesn’t necessarily make him or her an addict, but admitting the existence of the problem is much harder than recognizing its symptoms.
How To Fight Gambling Addiction
Once you’ve realized that you have a gambling problem – or that you’re in a risk group – you’re at least halfway there as you’re already in 20% of the addicts that recognize the unhealthy passion. At an early stage, you might be able to recover fast and maybe even without help from the side. For that,
- Look for alternative ways to channel your energy. If you gamble to release stress, soothe unpleasant emotions, or socialize with other players, then there are bazillions of alternatives for you. Speaking clubs, sports, reading, traveling, dating – just pick the one for your taste and practice it every time you want to gamble.
- Look for inspiration on the web. If full disclosure isn’t an option, then you can find support and motivation on the web and even make new friends who suffer from the same problem. Regardless of your whereabouts, you can reach local and national web portals providing anonymous help to addicts in every imaginable way. These may be consulting services, meetings, lectures, webinars, etc.
- Solve the problem that forces you to gamble. Oftentimes gambling addiction comes from the unwillingness to accept the reality – for example, a loss of a friend, termination of employment, relationship problems, etc. In this case, gambling addiction will be dealt with no sooner than the real problem behind it. Therefore, work in that direction in the first place.
Takeaway: in some cases, you might overcome your gambling addiction alone, but you shouldn’t overestimate your capabilities.
But What If You Can’t Fight Alone?
Don’t be too hard on yourself. Only a small fraction of problem gamblers can fight the addiction alone, and you’re already lucky to acknowledge that you can’t handle it alone and need help. And even if you’ve had a relapse after a seemingly calm and smooth period of recovery, don’t get discouraged – over ¾ of gambling addicts had those relapses until they finally cured, so it’s a part of the journey.
On the bright side, though, once you’re in the hands of professionals, you can relax and follow their recommendations, which may include rehab programs, cognitive-behavioral therapy, family therapy, career counseling, and many other forms of treatment along with symptomatic therapy to alleviate your current state.
Takeaway: fighting gambling addiction with the help of your family and professionals is easier and more effective, but asking for that help is the hardest of all.
In any case, do not give up as chances are you are much closer to a breakthrough than you think.
If you are interested in even more entertainment-related articles and information from us here at Bit Rebels, then we have a lot to choose from.