Gambling addiction has become an international issue with many countries reporting an increase in the number of addicts. The fact that many companies are now operating online sites with a far wider reach is the main contributor to this issue. Gambling addiction occurs when you can no longer control the impulse to engage in this activity. Be it sports betting, online casinos, or lotteries.
This is largely characterized by the continuous engagement in betting even when you don’t have any more money or are using the money you can’t afford to lose. Many addicts engage in risky behavior like gambling on credit or even with their savings. They just can’t control the urge and this is the indicator of a problem. This condition leads to compulsive gambling which is an issue many people are struggling with. For example, Dutch addicted players are targeted by casinos zonder Cruks advertising unlicensed casinos in the Netherlands.
Signs and Symptoms
As you continue engaging in gambling or someone close to you is, it’s important to know the signs and symptoms to look out for. Even though this activity can be fun and for leisure, it can turn into addiction in the blink of an eye. Some of these signs and symptoms are:
- Poor Concentration
One main sign of addiction is lack or poor concentration in other important other than constantly gambling. You can’t sit still at work because the urge to check on your placed bets is too strong. The family suffers because all your concentration is directed at the game or bet in front of you constantly.
- Irritability and Restlessness
This occurs especially when you haven’t gambled yet or don’t have money to gamble. You become increasingly irritable and restless until you get your next ‘hit’ by engaging in some form of gambling.
- Secrets and Lies
The lies and secrets start piling up. You can’t be honest with your loved ones and friends about how much money you spend daily on gambling. This even results in a lack of transparency between spouses about their total expenditure.
- Increased Debt
Many online gambling sites accept credit cards from consumers to pay for different activities like sports betting and casinos. This only leads to more debt because you end up paying all these using your credit cards.
- Futile Effort to Stop
Even when you realize you engage in gambling more than is necessary and want to cut back, you just can’t bring yourself to stop. The urge to gamble drags you back for more and more. This is the warning bell that you must seek help immediately.
- Broken Relationships
One day you wake up and all your relationships are in shambles due to the gambling. You’ve neglected all your friends and family causing pain and hurt.
Causes of Gambling Addiction
Certain factors contribute to this addiction. Even though many people who gamble don’t become addicts, there are still many more who do.
- Influence from Friends and Family
Many people learn about gambling from those closest to them be it, family or friends. This becomes an issue if you have a close family member or friend who also has a gambling problem. You can easily be influenced by them and end up addicted as well.
- Compulsive Behavior as a Result of Medication
Research shows that some medications cause restless behavior which is one of the characteristics of gambling addiction. These are drugs used to treat diseases such as Parkinson’s. Patients under this medication are vulnerable to poor impulse control that can easily lead to addiction if they engage in constant gambling.
- Sex of Gambler
Men are more susceptible to gambling addiction than women. Many women engaged in this behavior start later in life and may not develop the patterns that lead to addiction, unlike men who start gambling young.
Many people who are addicted to gambling and, in their youth, and started gambling at a young age. With time, this became a part of their lives and they just can’t stop no matter how hard they try. You run the risk of becoming an addict if you engage in continuous gambling in your teen or early youth years.
- Mental Health Challenges
Some people who suffer from certain mental health challenges are more susceptible to addiction if they engage in constant gambling. These mental challenges include depression, anxiety, bipolar disorders, among others. The poor control over their minds leaves them vulnerable to addictive behavior.
Treatment for Gambling Addiction
The road to recovery from gambling addiction is not an easy one. There is no sure way to get cured and it’s a continuous process for the gambler. You might not find it easy to accept that you have a problem and require treatment for it. This is the case facing many gamblers and their loved ones. It’s only after accepting you need help that the road to recovery can start.
There are various methods used to treat this addiction. This is the best way to regain control over your life and mend those broken/strained relationships.
- Treatment for Mental Health Challenges
Mental health challenges like anxiety, depression, and bipolar leave many people vulnerable to addictive behavior. Seeking treatment for these conditions can help you regain control over your impulses and urges to engage in addictive gambling behavior. Only after getting proper medication can you take back control.
- Going to Rehab
The good thing about getting committed to a rehabilitation center is you get weaned off compulsive gambling. At these facilities, all your activities are constantly monitored on top of getting much-needed therapy. You might undergo serious withdrawal symptoms from the lack of gambling but with time you can control the urges better.
- Support Groups
There are many Gamblers Anonymous (GA) groups held by recovering addicts. These are great support systems that help you keep in the straight and narrow. With this constant association with other people striving to gain back control you become stronger every day.
To Sum Up
Gambling addiction is a real concern especially with the rise of online platforms that are easy to register and use. There are increased cases of addictive behavior in many parts of the world. It’s important to understand what causes this behavior and the signs and symptoms to look out for. This can go a great length in self-diagnosis or helping out a friend or family member exhibiting them. With that being said, the next step to take is seeking proper treatment.