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Gambling Addiction and Treatment

1-800-315-2391  |  April 10th

Gambling Addiction and Treatment

Problem Gambling

When a person has a gambling problem it affects them emotionally, physically, financially and sometimes destroys their relationships as well. Compulsive gambling is an addiction that is progressive; it continues to get worse over time and sometimes gets completely out of control.

Most people are able to enjoy them self once in a while betting on the horses, playing poker on the internet or visiting a casino for a few hours of enjoyment but that's not the case for everyone.

Some people lose control with their gambling and it's no longer just for enjoyment. They become preoccupied with gambling and their unable to control themselves once they start. Many experts refer to individuals with this form of behavior as pathologic gamblers and when gone too far without help, this form of gambling behavior can affect your whole life.

Some of the reasons a person may become a compulsive gambler is due to the excitement and rush that is experienced when the individual wins. Certain personality types can play a role when it comes to compulsive gambling behavior also. Pathologic gamblers continually bet more and more in-spite of the fact that they're losing. Some people find themselves irritable and restless when they're unable to gamble or when it's time to leave.

One of the hardest things a compulsive gambler faces besides possible financial trouble is admitting they have a gambling problem. Most people have a hard time admitting to themselves as well as others that they are addicted to gambling and that their gambling behavior is out of control. This can be embarrassing and humiliating so it's not always easy to admit to yourself let alone anyone else.

Unfortunately there are many compulsive gamblers today and it's affecting their lives in many ways. Some people have lost their homes due to financial ruin because of their gambling addiction. Because of financial problems and the stress this causes, their health is affected also. Families have been torn apart if a family member suffers from a gambling problem. Marriages have ended due to the financial debt and dishonesty related to compulsive gambling behavior.

Individuals who are problem gamblers are unable to stop gambling even though they have lost everything. In spite of all the negative consequences that happen due to their compulsive behavior they can't control them self and continue to impulsively gamble. Some people may find themselves drinking more or taking medications like anti-depressants or painkillers because inside they're miserable but they just can't stop.

Gambling Problems and Misconceptions

A misconception many people have about problem gamblers is they feel this means the individual gambles all of the time. This isn't true, it doesn't matter how frequent the individual gambles it's the circumstances surrounding their gambling behavior. If their gambling behavior is affecting their lives in a negative way causing problems financially, emotionally, legally, psychologically, in their marriage or relationships among other things, then they have a gambling problem.

Another misconception is some people feel if they're financially secure and have the money to spend on gambling then there isn't a problem. The truth is financial problems aren't the only negative consequence associated with problem gambling. If a person's values change due to gambling, if their gambling takes away precious time from their friends and family, and if it affects relationships then it's a problem.

Some people think that if you're a compulsive gambler you are probably an irresponsible person. This isn't true either, anyone can develop a problem with gambling but that doesn't mean that they are irresponsible, their gambling behavior appears irresponsible though.

Financial problems aren't the main reason relationships suffer when someone has a gambling problem, many people think so but most of the time it's the dishonesty and trust issues that are hard to get past. Compulsive gamblers attempt to cover up where they've been and where the money went. Until the individual realizes and accepts the fact that their gambling behavior is a problem they will do most anything to keep their gambling activity a secret.

Denial is a very big part of any addiction and compulsive gamblers try to convince themselves and others that they are in control and that the only one with a problem is you. Listed below are some pretty straight forward questions to ask yourself about your gambling behavior. Sometimes just answering questions like these honestly will open your eyes and make it easier for you to see your gambling behavior for what it is.

  1. Have I gambled for longer periods of time than I intended, and this has happened quite often?
  2. Have I continued to gamble quite often until I gambled away my last dollar?
  3. Have I lost sleep because I can't stop thinking about gambling?
  4. Have my bills gone unpaid while I used my income or savings to gamble with?
  5. Have I tried repeatedly to stop gambling without success?
  6. Have I ever broken the law or had thoughts of breaking the law as a way of financing my gambling habit?
  7. Because of my gambling losses, have I felt down and depressed or even suicidal?
  8. Have I ever felt guilty, ashamed and remorseful after I gambled?
  9. Have I ever gambled as a way of getting money in order to pay my bills and meet my financial obligations?
  10. Have I ever lied to friends and people I care about because I don't want anyone to know how much I gamble?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions you may have a gambling problem. Many people even though they try hard to bury the thoughts realize deep down their gambling is causing problems in their life. There is help available and you're definitely not alone.

Sometimes medication is needed and helpful for controlling compulsive gambling behavior like anti-depressants or medications for anxiety. Medication will not stop the compulsive gambling behavior but it does help with the emotional effects when you're getting help for gambling addiction. Counseling and Behavior Therapy are also extremely helpful, sometimes there are other issues going on in your life that need to be addressed besides your gambling behavior. When you have other issues in your life that are out of control it affects all aspects of your life. Talking to a professional counselor or therapist isn't what most people want to hear but it's essential if you want to get help and successfully stop gambling and get your life under control.

Gamblers Anonymous is a wonderful program for anyone who wants to stop gambling. This fellowship of men and women share the same obsession and compulsion when it comes to gambling behavior and they want to lead normal happy lives again. The hardest part is facing and accepting the fact that they are compulsive gamblers but in order to work toward recovery this is necessary. Members of Gamblers Anonymous realize gambling will always be a problem in their lives and that there is no cure. Working the 12 Step Program and helping each other strengthens their desire and determination to stop gambling.

References & Resources

Comments & Replies:

  • Tina @ April 11th, 2011

    It's such a shame how gambling addictions can destroy homes and marriages. I know people whom lost their home due to a gambling addiction. It hurt to watch the pain and suffering that had to go through before admitting they had a problem and taking their life back.

  • Rick Dicken @ December 18th, 2011

    Yes addiction can be a problem that gets out of control....my advice is to check yourself often.... get help fast if you see.....Don't blow smoke up your own ass....or things in your life will leave fast...and that's a fact!!!!


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