Addiction is never an easy subject to deal with and it is always hard to confront someone who isn’t ready to confront themselves. If you suspect that you or someone you know has a gambling problem there are a few things you can do to overcome the problem or prevent it from getting out of hand. It is important to realize that person with the problem needs to realize they have a problem and want to do something about it otherwise he or she will not be able to beat the addiction. Here are a few steps you can take to help yourself or someone else to overcome their gambling addiction:
Realize and admit you have a problem. For someone to start getting better and dealing with the problem, he must admit that there is a problem. A person who fails to see that something is wrong and that they need help will be difficult to help.
Find a support group. Many recovering gambling addicts attend individual therapy and also join a support group. You will find different anonymous gambling addiction groups in your city. Join one to have added support from people who are going through the same thing that you are.
Find a therapist. Professional help is very important in order to beat an addiction. For gambling addictions, therapists often use cognitive-behavioural therapy as a treatment method. This therapy helps the person develop healthy coping skills and changes their thoughts and behavior to be less destructive.
Take regulatory action. A person who is worried about his future gambling behavior or knows that he has a problem can take regulatory actions to keep them from being irresponsible. Things like only going to play with cash or assigning someone as the designated keeper of their money can be very helpful. Limiting their gambling time and exposure to it can also help reduce the temptation and severity of the addiction.
Addiction is never pretty and the people who develop addictions have tough recovery roads. However, when someone decides to make an effort to overcome the addiction, half the battle is won.
Developing an addiction is not something can be predicted with absolute certainty. Anyone can develop an addiction. However, addictive behavior has been associated with certain risk factors that increase the likelihood of developing an addiction of some kind. These factors predispose a person to the behavior but it doesn’t mean that he or she will inevitably develop an addiction. There are different factors that influence the eventual appearance of an addiction.
Risk factors that increase the likelihood of addictive behavior include:
People’s influence – If someone in your family or a friend close to you has a gambling addiction, your chances to develop it too is higher.
Mental health disorders – Addictions are often associated with mental health problems like personality disorders, substance abuse, bipolar disorder, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, and ADHD.
Gender – There is not a huge difference in the gambling behavior of men and women. However, the common trend is that more men develop gambling addictions and that women tend to start gambling later in life.
Age – Addiction doesn’t discriminate and anyone can be vulnerable. Studies have shown that more young and middle-aged people develop gambling addictions. However, exposure to gambling during childhood or the teenage years can increase the risk of developing a gambling addiction.
Personality traits – There are certain personality traits that have been linked to the development of gambling addictions. These traits include competitiveness, impulsivity, restlessness, and being a workaholic. This does not mean that if you are a workaholic you will become addicted to gambling. There are other factors like exposure that also play a role.
These factors can make a person more vulnerable to becoming addicted to gambling but it is not definite that it will happen. Many people who have a predisposition for addiction may never come into contact with gambling and will never become addicted. Someone who has none of these risk factors can become addicted without the predisposition. There is no way to know. The best thing to do is to steer clear of gambling if you suspect you may have a problem.
Recognizing the signs of gambling addiction isn’t always easy. People who suffer from a gambling addiction often lead normal lives with good jobs and families. However, once you start looking deeper, you will see signs of a problem. Gambling addiction is less obvious to notice than, for example, heroin addiction. If you suspect someone has a problem or see these signs in someone close to you, you should get help immediately.
An obsession with gambling – This means that the person cannot think about anything else or do anything else. They are completely preoccupied with gambling to the extent that they start neglecting other aspects of their lives.
Psychological withdrawal – A person who has a gambling addiction will be irritable, restless, and come across as depressed or withdrawn when he or she is not gambling. When they are not gambling, they are not happy and that is why they withdraw or get restless to go gamble again.
Inability to stop gambling – It often happens that people realize they have a problem and try to stop. People who have a gambling addiction is unable to stop even when they try. A person who wants to quit but is unable to has a gambling addiction.
Stealing to continue gambling – People with a gambling addiction inevitably get to a point where they no longer have money to gamble with or they just keep wanting more. They will go to extremes to be able to continue gambling and they may steal or commit fraud to do so.
Denial – This is one of the common signs of any addiction. Addicts don’t realize that they have a problem or they don’t want to admit it. There is a reason why we have the saying ‘admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery’.
Sudden financial problems – Someone who suddenly has big financial problems or is constantly borrowing money from family and friends may have a gambling addiction. There may be other reasons for financial problems, but this is usually one of the tell-tale signs of a gambling addiction.
If you recognize any of these signs in yourself or someone you know, contact your nearest addiction hotline to take the first step to recovery.