What Are Compulsive Gambling And Problem Gambling?
Problem gambling may affect people from all walks of life. Your gambling transforms from a harmless pastime to an unhealthy addiction with dire repercussions. Whether you gamble on sports, scratch cards, roulette, poker, or slots at a casino, at the track, or online, gambling addiction may strain your relationships, disrupt your career, and lead to financial ruin. You may do things you never imagined you would, such as incurring enormous debts or stealing money to gamble.
A problem of impulse control, gambling addiction is also known as pathological gambling, compulsive gambling, or gambling disorder. If you are a compulsive gambler, you are unable to resist the need to gamble, regardless of the negative effects gambling has on you or your loved ones. Even when you know that the chances are against you or you can’t afford to lose, you will continue to gamble regardless of the consequences.
Obviously, it is also possible to have a gambling issue without being completely out of control. Problem gambling is any form of gambling that causes disruption in one’s life. You have a gambling issue if you are concerned with gambling, spending more and more time and money on it, chasing losses, or gambling despite major implications in your life.
Frequently, a gambling addiction or issue is accompanied by other behavioral or emotional illnesses. Numerous problem gamblers also struggle with drug misuse, uncontrolled ADHD, stress, depression, anxiety, or bipolar illness. In order to overcome your gambling issues, you must also address these and any other underlying factors.
Although you may feel powerless to quit gambling, there are several things you can do to solve the issue, heal your relationships and money, and regain control of your life.
The first step is to distinguish between myths and reality regarding gambling disorders.
Myths and Facts Regarding Problem Gambling
Myth: To be a problem gambler, you must bet daily.
Fact: A person with a gambling issue may gamble regularly or seldom. If gambling produces issues, it is a problem.
Myth: Problem gambling is not a true problem if the gambler can afford to participate.
Fact: The problems produced by excessive gambling are not limited to monetary ones. Too much time spent gambling can also result in marital and legal issues, job loss, and mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and even suicide.
Myth: Having a gambling issue is the result of a lack of willpower, irresponsibility, or intelligence.
Fact: Problem gambling affects people of all intellect levels and backgrounds. People who were previously responsible and strong-willed are just as likely as anybody else to acquire a gambling addiction.
Myth: Partners of problem gamblers frequently encourage their loved ones to gamble.
Fact: Problem gamblers frequently attempt to justify their actions. Blaming others is one approach to avoid taking responsibility for one’s actions, including the necessary steps to solve the situation.
Myth: If a problem gambler incurs debt, you should assist them in paying it off.
Fact: Quick-fix remedies may appear to be the best course of action. However, rescuing the gambler from debt may exacerbate the situation by allowing their gambling tendencies to continue.
Signs And Symptoms Of Gambling Dependency
Because there are no evident physical indications or symptoms, as there are with drug and alcohol addiction, gambling addiction is frequently referred to as a “hidden sickness.” Issue gamblers generally ignore or downplay the severity of their problem, even to themselves. Nevertheless, you may have an issue if you:
Feel the urge to conceal your gaming activities. You may gamble in secret or lie about how much you bet because you believe that others will not understand or you will surprise them with a large gain.
You struggle to control your gambling. Can you stop gambling after you’ve begun? Or are you determined to gamble till your last dollar is gone, increasing your wagers in an attempt to win lost money back?
Even when you have no money, gamble. You may gamble until your last dollar is gone, and then go on to spending money you don’t have on bills, credit cards, or children’s items. You may feel compelled to borrow, sell, or even steal in order to fund your gambling habit.
Family and friends are concerned about you. Denial keeps problem gambling going. If friends and relatives are anxious, pay close attention to them. It is not a show of weakness to seek assistance. Many elder gamblers are hesitant to reach out to their adult offspring if they’ve lost their inheritance to gambling, but it’s never too late to make positive adjustments.
Self-help For Gambling Problems
Recognizing that you have a problem is the first step in resolving a gambling addiction. It takes considerable fortitude and bravery to admit this, especially if you have lost a significant amount of money and had strained or destroyed relationships as a result. Do not lose hope, and do not attempt to tackle it alone. Numerous people have been in your position and have been able to overcome their addictions and restore their lives. You can, too.
Learn to alleviate negative emotions in better ways. Do you engage in gambling when you are lonely or bored? Or following a difficult day at work or a disagreement with your partner? Gambling may be used to self-soothe negative emotions, relax, and socialize. However, there are healthier and more efficient methods to manage your moods and alleviate your boredom, such as exercising, spending time with friends who do not gamble, pursuing new interests, and practicing relaxation techniques.
Enhance your support system. It is difficult to combat any addiction without assistance, so seek out loved ones. If your social circle is small, you can meet new connections without visiting casinos or engaging in online gambling. Consider reaching out to coworkers, joining a sports team or reading club, enrolling in an educational course, or volunteering for a charitable organization.
Join a support group for peers. For example, Gamblers Anonymous is a 12-step rehabilitation group modeled after Alcoholics Anonymous. A crucial aspect of the program is finding a sponsor, a formerly addicted gambler who has experience staying sober and can provide you with essential assistance and support.
Seek assistance for underlying mental illnesses. Depression, stress, drug misuse, and/or anxiety can both cause and exacerbate gambling issues. Even when gambling is no longer a part of your life, these issues will persist; thus, it is essential to treat them.
How To Quit Gambling Permanently
For many problem gamblers, the greatest struggle is not stopping gambling, but rather remaining in treatment, or maintaining a lifelong commitment to abstain from gaming. Internet accessibility has greatly increased the accessibility of gambling, making it more difficult for recovering addicts to prevent relapse. Online casinos and bookies are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to anybody with a smartphone or computer. But it is feasible to sustain recovery from gambling addiction or problem gambling if you surround yourself with accountable people, avoid enticing locations and websites, give up control of your income (at least initially), and substitute gambling with healthy pursuits.
Making Healthier Choices
One strategy to quit gambling is to eliminate the circumstances that encourage it and replace them with healthy alternatives. The following four things are required for gambling to continue:
- For gambling to occur, a decision must be made to engage in the activity. Stop what you are doing and contact someone, consider the repercussions of your actions, tell yourself to stop thinking about gambling, and instantly find another activity.
- Without money, gambling cannot occur. Get rid of your credit cards, give someone else control of your finances, have the bank make your payments automatically, shut your online gambling accounts, and carry just a restricted quantity of cash.
- Even internet gambling is impossible without sufficient time. Schedule pleasurable leisure activities that have nothing to do with gambling. If you gamble on your smartphone, you should discover alternative methods to occupy your time.
- Without a game or activity on which to wager, there is no possibility for gambling. Avoid placing oneself in enticing settings. Inform your preferred gaming businesses that you have a gambling addiction and urge them to restrict your access. Remove gambling applications from your smartphone and computer, and ban gambling websites.
Managing Gambling Addictions
It is normal to feel the need to gamble, but as you make healthier decisions and cultivate a solid support system, it will become easier to resist urges. When the urge to gamble strikes:
Avoid being alone. Call a trustworthy relative, have coffee with a buddy, or attend a Gamblers Anonymous meeting.
Postpone gambling. Declare that you will wait for 5 minutes, 15 minutes, or 1 hour. As you wait, the desire to gamble may subside or become manageable.
Imagine what will occur if you give in to your need to bet. Consider how you will feel when all of your money is gone and you’ve once again let yourself and your family down.
Distract yourself from gambling impulses by engaging in another activity, such as going to the gym, watching a movie, or performing relaxation exercises.
Coping With Lapses
If you cannot resist the need to gamble, do not beat yourself up or use it as an excuse to give up. The process of overcoming a gambling addiction is difficult. The key thing is to learn from your errors and continue to work towards recovery.
Gambling Dependency Therapy
It is never simple to overcome a gambling issue, and seeking expert help does not imply that you are weak or unable to handle your difficulties. However, it is vital to note that every gambler is different, therefore you need a rehabilitation program that is personalized to your individual requirements and circumstances. Discuss with your physician or mental health expert the following therapy options:
Residential or inpatient treatment and rehabilitation programs. These are designed for persons with serious gambling addiction who are unable to abstain from gambling without constant help.
Substance abuse or mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, OCD, or ADHD are among the underlying illnesses that may be contributing to your gambling addiction. This may involve treatment, medication, and lifestyle modifications. Before obtaining a diagnosis, your physician or therapist may need to rule out the possibility that problem gambling is a sign of bipolar illness.
CBT refers to cognitive-behavioral treatment. The goal of CBT for gambling addiction is to alter problematic gambling habits and thinking, such as rationalizations and erroneous beliefs. It can also educate you on how to resist gambling desires and resolve financial, occupational, and interpersonal issues brought on by problem gambling. Lifelong strategies for coping with your addiction can be acquired via therapy.
Family counseling and career, marital, and credit counseling. These can help you address the specific difficulties caused by your gambling habit and establish the groundwork for mending your relationships and finances.
How To Help Someone Stop Gambling
If a loved one has a gambling addiction, you likely experience a range of confusing feelings. You may have expended a great deal of time and effort attempting to prevent a loved one from gambling or covering for them. Simultaneously, you may be enraged at your loved one for gambling again and exhausted from maintaining the farce. Your family member may have borrowed or even stolen money without the means to repay it. They may have sold family property or racked up enormous credit card obligations.
Compulsive and problem gamblers require the assistance of their family and friends in their quest to stop gambling, but they must make the decision to do so on their own. You cannot force someone to quit gambling, no matter how much you want to or how difficult it is to observe the repercussions. You may, however, urge them to get assistance, support them in their attempts, protect yourself, and take seriously any mention of suicide.
Four Recommendations For Members Of The Family:
Begin by assisting yourself. You have the right to emotionally and financially defend yourself. Do not take responsibility for the gambler’s issues or allow his or her addiction to control your life. Ignoring one’s own needs might lead to burnout.
Avoid going it alone. Dealing with a loved one’s gambling addiction might feel so burdensome that it may seem simpler to comply with their “final request.” Alternatively, you may have feelings of embarrassment if you believe you are the only person with these difficulties. You will learn that many families have suffered from this issue if you seek assistance.
Establish limits while handling money. Consider assuming financial responsibility for the gambler to enforce accountability and prevent relapse. However, this does not imply that you are responsible for micromanaging the urges of the problem gambler to gamble. First and foremost, it is your responsibility to safeguard your own funds and credit.
Consider how you will respond to financial requests. Directly or indirectly, problem gamblers frequently become proficient at requesting funds. They may employ begging, deception, or even threats in order to obtain it. It takes discipline to avoid supporting the gambling addiction of a loved one.
Partners of Problem Gamblers: Dos and Don’ts
- Discuss your partner’s gambling issue and its implications with them when you are not upset or irritated.
- Seek out help. Self-help organizations for families of problem gamblers, such as Gam-Anon, for instance, might introduce you to individuals who have encountered similar challenges.
- Explain to your spouse that you are seeking assistance because their gambling negatively impacts you and your family.
- Discuss with your children your partner’s gambling issue.
- Assume control of your family’s money by closely checking your bank and credit card statements.
- Even if the treatment for your loved one’s gambling issue is a lengthy process rife with setbacks, offer them your encouragement and support.
- Do not lose your anger, preach, lecture, or make empty threats and ultimatums.
- Overlook your partner’s excellent characteristics.
- Prevent your partner from taking part in family activities and life.
- Expect that your partner’s rehabilitation from a gambling issue will be straightforward or simple. Even if they stop gambling, other underlying issues may emerge.
- Do not rescue your spouse from debt or facilitate their gambling in any manner.
- Conceal or deny your partner’s issue from yourself and others.
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