Understanding Gambling Addiction Symptoms in GemdiscoPH
Gambling is, for most people, fun, and an occasional treat that may or may not result in a win. However, for some individuals, it can spiral into a compulsive and destructive habit, commonly known as a gambling addiction. Symptoms of problem gambling vary from person to person, but most people struggling experience impacts in all areas of their life.
It can affect their relationships and their career and wreak havoc on their mental health and wellbeing. Today, we’re going to show you some of the main gambling addiction symptoms to look out for.
Gambling Addiction Signs: What to Look For
Gambling addiction, also known as compulsive gambling, is a type of impulse-control disorder that’s recognized as being as serious as drug addiction. People with a gambling problem can’t control the impulse to gamble, even when they know it’s hurting them and their loved ones. They’re constantly chasing a big win, usually resulting in them losing even more money.
Visible gambling addiction signs may not be clear until it’s too late, which is why it’s so important to be aware of the signs to get yourself, or a loved one, help, to prevent further harm.
Casino Addiction Symptoms
Casino addiction, generally the most damaging subset of gambling addiction, is, as the name suggests, a disorder in which someone is addicted to playing at a casino. The most obvious symptom is the amount of time someone spends in a casino, but with online gambling more accessible than ever, it’s also become easier for problem gamblers to hide their addiction.
Those with a casino addiction will regularly spend more money than they can afford to lose. They may spend more time gambling than they should, turning up to work late or going to bed in the early hours of the morning just to extend their gambling sessions. Naturally, this can lead to financial issues like debt, unpaid bills, and maxed-out credit cards.
Another of the most common casino addiction symptoms is the inability to stop or reduce gambling. Despite already losing a lot of money, someone struggling with a casino addiction will continue to gamble – often betting more and more – displaying, often, a complete loss of control. This behavior goes hand in hand with chasing losses: a problem gambler believes they can win back what they’ve lost, which almost never works out.
Mood swings and emotional issues are common casino addiction symptoms, too. Someone struggling with a casino addiction may display restlessness or irritability when they’re not able to gamble. These symptoms may significantly improve when they are at the casino, or when they receive their paycheck, as their brain knows they’re once again able to gamble.
Over time, this emotional dependency wreaks havoc on the brain’s dopamine supplies which can lead to depression and anxiety. Problem gamblers are also likely to be very secretive about their gaming, lying about the extent of how much they spend, or working extra shifts or selling personal possessions to get more money to gamble with.
Thankfully, all the top legal US casinos have responsible gambling systems in place that are designed to flag and counter this type of gambling, but it’s in no way guaranteed, which is why you must be proactive if you worry your gambling, or that of a loved one, is getting out of control.
Recognizing a Problem: The First Step to Recovery
Recognizing a gambling problem involves being mindful of your own behavior and the behavior of those around you.
If you’re worried about yourself, it’s important to be honest with yourself: do you feel compelled to gamble, even when you don’t want to? Do you find yourself gambling with more money, for longer durations, or more frequently than you intend to?
And if you’ve tried to stop gambling, do you experience restlessness or irritability? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you’re displaying gambling problem signs.
If you’re worried about friends, family, or loved ones, pay attention to any changes in their behavior or lifestyle. Have they become distant, anxious, or overly secretive? Are they experiencing financial problems despite having a steady job and earning good money? Are they neglecting their responsibilities or their personal relationships?
Here’s a breakdown of some of the most common signs of problem gambling to look for in yourself and others:
|PERSONAL SIGNS OF A GAMBLING PROBLEM||SIGNS IN FRIENDS AND LOVED ONES|
|Feeling compelled to gamble||Becoming distant or anxious|
|Gambling more money, longer, or more frequently||Experiencing inexplicable financial problems|
|Experiencing restlessness or irritability when not gambling||Neglecting responsibilities or relationships|
|Lying or feeling the need to hide gambling activities||Increasingly secretive behavior|
|Feelings of guilt or remorse after gambling||Demonstrating a preoccupation with gambling activities|
Personal Effects of Addiction
Gambling addiction can ruin someone’s life. Of course, the biggest impact is, initially, likely to be financial, as a compulsive gambler can quickly rack up huge amounts of debt by not gambling responsively. This can lead to huge financial problems, with some even going bankrupt as a result of their debts.
However, in the longer term, it’s not just financial problems gambling addicts are likely to run into. The constant stress of financial problems, guilt, and a total loss of control can contribute to anxiety and depression. Physically, the stress and anxiety can lead to issues like insomnia, headaches, and in severe cases, hypertension and heart disease.
Untreated gambling addiction can also cause significant problems in someone’s family, social, and professional life. The obsessive need to gamble can lead to someone failing to turn up to work, while lying to partners and hiding losses can lead to breakups and divorce.
Impact on Family and Friends
The effects of a gambling addiction can also extend to family and friends. Financial issues caused by gambling can put tremendous strain on family resources, causing stress and anxiety for everyone. As trust erodes, relationships can become strained, leading to isolation of the individual. Children in these situations may feel neglected and insecure.
Unfortunately, problem gambling can even result in suicide, which is why it’s so important to get help when you realize you have a problem, no matter how much money you’ve lost or how little hope you think there is.
Family members involved are likely to experience a range of conflicting emotions when they find out about someone’s gambling problem. This will likely begin with anger and frustration, before manifesting into feelings of betrayal, guilt, and helplessness. Close family members often blame themselves for not recognizing the signs earlier, and they also tend to worry about the societal stigma associated with gambling addiction.
Treatment and Recovery: Beat Gambling Addiction
Recovering from gambling addiction can seem like a daunting task, but it’s possible with the right help and support. Usually, overcoming gambling addiction requires a combination of behavioral treatment and personal lifestyle changes. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has been found to be particularly effective, and it helps individuals identify and change negative thought patterns that lead to compulsive gambling urges.
In addition to therapy, support groups can provide great help. Groups such as Gamblers Anonymous open you up to a community of individuals who are facing or have faced similar struggles. They offer a safe, non-judgmental space to discuss challenges and achievements, and sometimes, the emotional support, accountability, and motivation are exactly what a problem gambler needs.
In certain individuals, medication may also be useful, although research is still somewhat limited. Studies have shown that certain antidepressants and mood stabilizers may help to mitigate symptoms associated with gambling addiction, including depression and OCD. However, medication is rarely sufficient on its own, as it’s not treating the root cause of the problem, which is something a trained therapist usually needs to help an individual figure out.
A key part of recovery is also learning healthier ways to cope with stress or other triggers. This can involve picking up new hobbies, working out regularly, or even practicing mindfulness and relaxation techniques. Financial counseling can also be a major help once someone is in control a bit more, helping them manage debt and create a sustainable budget moving forward.
There are numerous resources available for those struggling with gambling addiction.
Phone Number: 1-800-522-4700
National helplines like the National Council on Problem Gambling offer confidential, 24/7 support, completely free of charge.
Websites like Gamblers Anonymous offer resources to help you find local support groups. This has been proven to be one of the most effective treatments for problem gambling, as it allows the individual to connect with others who are experiencing the same hardships.
Phone Number: 1-800-662-HELP
For those wanting more intense treatment options, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has a treatment services locator which can help match you with clinical providers.
There are also hundreds of online forums and support groups that offer advice, allow members to share their experiences, and provide a sense of community.
What are the most common signs of gambling addiction?
The most common signs of gambling addiction are similar to other addictions. They include an obsession with gambling, needing to gamble with larger amounts of money to get the same hit, and multiple unsuccessful attempts to stop gambling or cut back.
How can I recognize a gambling problem in myself or others?
Recognizing a gambling problem involves identifying certain patterns of behavior. These may include spending excessive time and money on gambling, chasing losses, and neglecting responsibilities or relationships because of gambling. In general, if gambling starts negatively impacting your life in any way, you’re likely exhibiting gambling addiction signs.
What impact does a gambling addiction have on family and friends?
A gambling addiction can have severe consequences for family and friends. It can lead to financial problems and emotional distress, and even cause relationships to break down. People close to the addicted individual may feel a sense of betrayal, experience a loss of trust, and they may struggle with their own feelings of guilt or anger.
What are the treatment options for gambling addiction?
Several treatment options are recommended for gambling addiction. Depending on the severity of the problem these can include self-help training, group, or individual therapy, or in some cases, medication. Cognitive-behavioral therapy has been shown to be one of the most effective ways of treating compulsive gambling.
Where can I find more resources for problem gambling?
Gambling help resources are readily available. For example, the National Council on Problem Gambling provides a 24/7 helpline (1-800-522-4700) and a live chat platform online. Gamblers Anonymous (https://www.minesgames.com/) offers resources for finding local support group, while treatment options can be found through SAMHSA’s website: https://www.minesgames.com/.