Gambling addictions are not always directly apparent, and sometimes can be hard to spot. Gambling addictions are sometimes referred to as “hidden illness”, as there are no clear signs like what you will find with other addictions. Most people that suffer from a gambling addiction also tend to hide or downplay their dependency on gambling, making it even harder for concerned parties to be aware of the illness. Those that suffer from this illness will thus often distance themselves from their loves ones, and lie or sneak behind their backs, so that the extent of their problem can remain unnoticed.
Signs that you might have a gambling problem
If you feel the need to deceive others regarding the amount or extent to which you gamble. If you feel others “won’t understand” and you need to keep playing so you can show them with a big win.
You are not able to control your gambling. This means that you have an extremely difficult time walking away, and will feel compelled to stay and continue gambling, even if you are no longer enjoying yourself. You feel that you must continue gambling, until you have spent your last dollar.
You continue gambling, even when you have run out of money. This means that you will play with money that was not supposed to be spent on gambling, i.e. money for your bills, your kids college tuition fund, your retirement fund, etc. This could additionally mean that you might sell, borrow, or even steal things in order to have the money to gamble. Many people suffering from the illness of a gambling addiction usually feel that playing this money will provide goods to their loved ones, but once you begin playing with money that shouldn’t be yours in the first place; you will quickly find yourself sinking.
If loved ones are worrying about you. Those who surround and love you only want to ensure your protection, and only have your best interests at heart. If they believe you have a problem, you should hear them out, and take a long look at your gambling experiences, do they really seem healthy to you?
The biggest step, and by far the hardest part in treatment, is admitting to having a problem. It takes a tremendous amount of strength and courage to own up to any addiction. You should ensure that this is not something you are doing alone. All of the below references can be used as a forum, for moving past your addiction with love and support.
Gamblers anonymous- a twelve step processes that helps overcome the addiction. Addicts are taught that they can make it past the addiction. Addicts are given a sponsor in the form of someone who had previously also been a gambling addict.
Cognitive behavioral therapy- teaches gamblers to fight the urges to gamble, and rather than using gambling as a form of escaping from uncomfortable or unpleasant emotional issues, addicts are taught to deal with these issues. Addicts will learn how to gamble in a healthy manner through a four-stage process.
If you or a loved one is suffering from gambling addiction please seek help today. Remember, there are many people who love you, and there is always a way out.