Recognising the Signs of Gambling Addiction
Gambling is an activity in which people risk something of value – money, assets or property – for the chance to win more. It’s an addictive activity and for some it can be a serious problem. It’s important to recognise the signs of gambling addiction and seek help if necessary.
Many people gamble for fun and as a way to relax. However, for some, it can become a dangerous habit that leads to financial and relationship problems. There are a number of things that can contribute to gambling addiction including:
Age. Compulsive gambling is more common among younger and middle-aged adults, although it can affect anyone at any age. It can also be influenced by your environment and the presence of family members or friends who have a gambling problem.
Pre-existing psychological disorders. If you have a history of anxiety, depression or mood swings you are at higher risk for developing a gambling disorder. Certain drugs or alcohol can also increase your risk.
Genetics. If someone in your family has a gambling addiction, you are more likely to develop one too. It is also more common for men to develop a gambling addiction than women.
Using gambling to escape unpleasant feelings. If you are experiencing boredom, loneliness, stress, anger or depression, you may turn to gambling to self-soothe your feelings. However, gambling is not a healthy way to relieve these emotions and it’s best to seek support in other ways. Instead of gambling, try exercising, spending time with friends who don’t gamble or practicing relaxation techniques.
Borrowing to fund gambling. If you’re spending more than you can afford to lose, it’s a sign that you have a gambling problem and should seek help. You should never use credit cards or loans to fund gambling, as this will only cause more harm.
Avoid chasing losses. This will only lead to more losses and can have disastrous effects on your finances and relationships. Make a commitment to only gamble with disposable income and set a time limit for how long you will play. Leaving when you hit your limits will allow you to feel in control and keep you from chasing your losses.
The biggest step to overcoming a gambling problem is admitting that you have a problem. This can be hard, especially if your problem has cost you significant amounts of money and strained or broken your relationships. There are a number of different treatment options for gambling addiction, including individual counselling, group therapy and inpatient or residential treatment and rehab programs. Family, marriage and career counseling can also be helpful for those with gambling addictions. They can help you work through the issues caused by your addiction and create a stronger foundation for success in your life. Find a qualified, licensed therapist today. It’s free, fast and confidential.