Gambling is an activity that we all do from time to time. Maybe you once bought a scratch-off lottery ticket or wanted to take a cool trip to Vegas. Even outside of the lottery or a casino, many of us take risks in order to gain something bigger.
However, this can become an addiction that can ruin one’s marriage and life in general. Let’s talk about compulsive gambling, also known as a gambling addiction.
What Is It?
Gambling addiction is when you have a compulsion to gamble that is uncontrollable. Like other addictions, gambling can stimulate the part of your brain that’s associated with rewards. If you win something, it feels good. Or, the rush you feel gambling, in general, can feel like a reward. However, your brain can’t stop craving it, and this can lead to pure addiction.
A gambling addict is unable to stop, even if they are in the red. It is easy to see how this can lead to life problems, from losing too much money to having to resort to stealing to feed the addiction.
Who’s At Risk?
Anyone can be a gambling addict, but for most people, they may play the slots every now and again but otherwise remain financially stable. However, there are certain people who may be at risk, including:
If you are younger, you’re more at risk, especially as a child or teen. It’s one of the reasons why you have to be 21 to gamble in many places.
However, middle-aged people tend to have an addiction as well. This can be due to a mid-life crisis or just having more time compared to young adults.
A man tends to have a higher chance of being a problem gambler compared to a woman. However, women can become addicted faster, so it does depend.
Mental Health Issues
Depression, substance abuse issues, and anxiety are just some disorders that are associated with gambling addiction. Also, the addiction can worsen those conditions and feed into them. You may gamble due to depression, then feel more depressed if you lose money.
A History or Personality
If you have a family history or friend history of gambling issues, this can also increase your chances. Also, people who have certain personalities, such as someone who gets bored easily or someone who is naturally a risky person.
What Are The Symptoms?
Of course, the line between someone who likes to gamble and an addict can be blurry. That’s why it’s important to spot some of the symptoms of gambling. These include:
It Consumes Your Thoughts
If you’re always thinking about gambling and the thoughts can’t go away, then you may have an addiction.
You Can’t Get Over Your Losses
A casual gambler tends to have a limit. If they lose so much, they stop doing it.
However, an addict has to win it all back. They keep playing to win back their losses. Sometimes, they may win it back, but then lose it all trying to win more. It can be a tough cycle, especially as someone loses more and more money.
Not Gambling Makes You Feel Uncomfortable
If you try to cut back, it makes you feel uneasy. Just like drug addiction, you may be unable to cut back without rushing back to the casino.
You Ruin Your Life to Gamble
If your spouse tells you to stop and you don’t, you’re willing to risk your marriage to gamble. If you’re someone who passes job opportunities to gamble, this is yet another issue that you may experience. You may avoid other life obligations to gamble, causing you several different issues in the process.
You know you have a serious gambling addiction if it’s ruining your life. In extreme cases, a person may risk their health, relationship, finances, or even risk getting arrested to feed the gambling beast.
Just like any other addiction, gambling addiction tends to be treated through a combination of medication, therapy, and self-responsibility.
For example, there are mood stabilizers you can take to reduce your chances of giving in. Meanwhile, learning cognitive behavioral therapy can help you break the chain between thoughts about gambling and actions.
Just like most addictions, a compulsive gambler may be unable to do it casually and may need to avoid casinos or anything that could trigger a relapse.
Of course, the first step to any addiction is realizing you have a problem. If people who love you have pointed out your addiction, it is time to listen. Meanwhile, you may be able to seek help by getting diagnosed. An online diagnosis can tell you if you have an addiction, and then you can take the next steps. Click this link below for more information on addiction.
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