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Gambling Addiction

Gambling Addiction

gambling addiction

Gambling is a fun past time that whispers of fast, easy money and the ability to live out your dreams with just the pull of a lever. It has been around for thousands of years and is considered one of the earliest of human vices. And like other behaviours, it can lead to addiction and financial ruin very easily. Let’s look at this further so that you can spot the signs of gambling addiction in yourself or your loved ones.

How can it be an addiction?

It isn’t a drug, so how can gambling be an addiction? Well, behaviours can be addictive as well, if they are rewarding to the person in some way. It becomes a cycle of reinforcement, where a person does something, in this case, gambles, which in some cases can activate the pleasure centres of the brain. When these centres become active in the brain, the feeling can be very powerful; it may be enough to forget a person’s normal troubles or anxiety. Thinking of it this way, it can be easy to see why gambling could become addictive if the brain is finding relief just by doing it.

Gambling addiction has another problem. It offers someone who may already be struggling with the fast, easy solution to life’s challenges. It offers financial independence and never having to work again. All that needs to happen is you get lucky once, and maybe the next roll of the dice will do it. With that thought process, a person is on their way to a gambling addiction.

What are the signs of gambling addiction?

Gambling addiction will be different in some regards than a drug or alcohol addiction, but still very similar in other ways. Gambling addiction will not have much of a physical component, but a person with an addiction will display many of the same behaviours as a person with any other type of addiction.

Someone with a gambling addiction will:

  • Withdraw from friends, family and other social functions in favour of gambling
  • Become very secretive with money and their spending habits
  • Try to stop gambling, but will find themselves unable to do so
  • Gamble when they cannot afford to or take out larger and larger loans to cover a gambling problem
  • Have friends and family talking to them about their gambling
  • Have a very strong defensive reaction when friends and family communicate with them about their gambling

A person with a gambling addiction is also likely to suffer an emotional toll as well. They may find themselves suffering from depression or anxiety, as the weight of the problem and the financial burden wears on them. They may have a very short temper and be agitated and upset for no reason. Finally, they may talk about feeling hopeless or suicidal as the desperation sets in and feeling trapped becomes a reality.

Other behaviours that you might see include sleeplessness,  short-temper, recklessness such as driving recklessly or doing other dangerous things, or worst-case scenario the person makes a suicide attempt because they feel so trapped and hopeless.

Treatment

While this is a very serious condition, gambling addiction is also very treatable. The hardest part will be taking that first step towards recovery, and from there, it gets easier.

In a residential rehab treatment centre, the person with the addiction will be thoroughly assessed for underlying causes. This is because many with addiction are using it as a way to cope with other issues, like depression or relationship problems. Tackling the addiction problem means treating the other conditions as well.

The person will also receive education on the nature of addiction, mental illness, as well as the reward and reinforcement cycle that has them trapped in a loop of gambling addiction. Finally, they will get both individual and group counselling. This will focus on healthy ways to cope with and understand the unhelpful thought processes that lead to the addiction in the first place. Using cognitive behavioural therapy, the individuals in treatment will get the assistance they need in correcting those unhealthy thoughts. Support groups are another way to get the necessary tools to overcome an addiction. There, the people in the group can learn from one another, hear each other’s stories, and learn what is helpful, and what is destructive from those that have already been there.

Gambling may seem like a harmless pastime, but it has the potential for misery, financial ruin, and addiction when it is used as a coping skill or a fast, easy way out of hardship. This does not have to be the case. Gambling addiction can cause tremendous relationship, mental, emotional and financial problems. If you or someone you love has the symptoms of gambling addiction, please reach out for help now, because any more damage is done.

Contact Rehab Guide on 02072052845 for help and advice.

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