10 September 2021
By Roger Jones
Gambling addiction is an ongoing concern with many severe psychological, bodily, and societal consequences. It’s categorised as an impulse-control dysfunction.
Gambling dependence is hazardous to a person’s mental and physical wellbeing. People who suffer from this addiction may suffer from melancholy, migraines, discomfort, digestive ailments, and other anxiety-related issues.
Gambling, like other addictions, may result in emotions of despair and powerlessness. In certain instances, this may lead to suicidal ideation.
Globally, the prevalence of problem gambling has increased in recent years. In the United States in 2012, about 5.77 million individuals required treatment for a gambling problem.
Gambling addiction becomes a significant public health issue in many nations due to its negative effects.
How to Diagnose a Gambling Addiction
The DSM-5 says that a person must exhibit or undergo at least 4 of the following over the previous 12 months to be diagnosed with gambling addiction:
- To experience thrill, you must bet with increasing sums of money.
- When attempting to quit gambling, you may experience agitation or restlessness.
- Attempts to halt, restrict, or decrease gambling have repeatedly failed.
- Thinking about gambling and creating gambling plans regularly.
- Try their luck even in a bad mood.
- Returning to gambling after a financial setback.
- Lying to hide one’s gambling habits.
- Problems in relationships or at work as a result of gambling.
- Having to rely on others for cash to gamble.
Steps to Consider When Fighting Gambling Addiction
Understanding the Problem
If you can’t explain anything, it is impossible to repair. To stop gambling from controlling your life, you must acknowledge you have a gambling addiction and learn about the subject.
According to the American Psychiatric Association, gambling is comparable to addictions that result from alcohol and narcotics. Compulsive gambling is more common in those who have:
- Powerful urge to play with higher stakes of money.
- When one is not playing games, they have feelings of restlessness or irritation.
- Was unsuccessful in their efforts to stop gambling after many failed attempts.
- You are thoroughly immersed in gaming.
- You used gambling to relieve tension.
- Continued attempts to “even things out.”
- Concealed gambling activities from friends, colleagues, and loved ones.
- Negotiating regarding wagering.
- Necessary funding.
If you are concerned about having a gambling disorder, be completely honest with yourself about your symptoms. Even better, talk to someone you trust about your gambling habits to gain a better understanding. Stop pretending it doesn’t exist and start dealing with the destructive impact it has on your life.
Joining a Support Group
Once you have pinpointed the issue, look into support groups for help. Such organizations are made up of individuals who have a specific background and history. Online support groups provide the same variety of services as in-person support groups, but they are free because licensed therapists do not provide these services.
You may contact the National Council on Problem Gambling for additional information about organizations and meetings for problem gamblers. The service provides phone and text assistance for individuals dealing with gambling problems, and it helps those people locate support groups that are designed to help them work through their gambling concerns.
Avoiding the Temptation
Players should try addiction rehabilitation and relapse prevention strategies while gaming. If you or someone you know is in recovery from gambling, avoiding locations, people, and activities associated with gambling may assist in keeping you on track. When you avoid these triggers, you may prevent yourself from becoming involved in the thoughts and emotions that lead to gambling.
If you work near a casino, you may become tempted to gamble after you’ve left work. Instead, use an alternate route home. You are more likely to desire to place a bet if you watch sports. Solve your credit card debt by cutting up your cards and leaving your partner to manage the chequebook.
It may seem like a nuisance, but you have to recognize and avoid your triggers, just as someone with a problem with alcohol should not walk into a bar. Choose a loved one to go over your trigger’s list with you, and figure out methods to resist the desire to gamble to lower the risk.
When it comes to addictions, there are always urges. Temptations are powerful impulses to go through with the desired action. As a player, you may experience urges related to gambling, such as having to contact your bookie, going to the casino, or cashing your salary.
Withdrawals are an excellent method to understand this problem since they provide an in-depth look at how it feels, what you consider when you have the desire, and how long the need typically lasts. Begin to reduce the craving’s power over you by learning about it.
After learning more about the issue, you will be able to identify a series of ideas or activities that will help you divert your attention from gambling. To postpone becoming addicted, you could try deep breathing or talking to a buddy when you feel the need to gamble.
Finding Gambling Alternatives
Eating a healthy alternative to gambling may help improve your condition if you avoid gambling triggers and distractions when experiencing a desire. Gambling habits are replaced with good ones, and the emphasis is then shifted from the negative to the positive.
Some forms of gambling include:
- providing an opportunity for physical exercise
- Increasing the amount of time spent with non-gamblers
- volunteer at a hospital or animal shelter
- trying new activities
Don’t overlook the limitless opportunities you have by not gambling with the additional money you’ve been lucky enough to save.
Consider the Implications
People in addiction recovery feel extremely ashamed and guilty because of their addiction. Many things can trigger people to relapse: shame and guilt are two of them. However, there are different levels of shame and embarrassment, and some of them will drive you to remain in recovery.
Consider the repercussions of your previous gambling, and you’ll prevent future gambling. Be mindful of:
- You devastated the people you love.
- Your family was placed in a difficult financial situation due to your falsehoods to conceal your addictions from others’ distractions.
- Keep an eye on your previous actions and only use them to help you avoid making future bad bets. It is possible to feel too much shame or guilt, which may be destructive.