Gambling addiction is an impulse-control disorder. It is a compulsive behavior that the person has lost control over. A compulsive gambler can think of nothing else, only gambling. Even when the gambler begins to hurt himself, or his family, he cannot quit gambling. Even when the gambler has nothing to bet and the consequences would be extreme if he lost, a gambling addict will continue to gamble.
Like other addictions, such as drug or alcohol addictions, a gambling addiction usually stems from something else in the person’s life. Often when an individual is feeling upset, depressed or angry over something in his life, gambling may present itself as an outlet, seeming like a low-key way to relax and check out from life for a minute or two. From there a habit begins to form, and the individual turns to gambling to escape stresses in life–be it an argument with a spouse or friend, a layoff at work, loss of a family member and so on.
There are a few things an individual can look at to see if he does, in fact, have a gambling addiction:
Do you have trouble controlling your gambling?
Do you think about it all the time?
Do you gamble when you do not have any more money?
Do you feel the need to be secretive about your gambling?
Are family members trying to tell you that you have an addiction?
Are you defensive when people ask you about your gambling?
Keep the above in mind when evaluating whether you, a family member or friend has a gambling addiction. Someone who is addicted to gambling will go through great lengths to hide their addiction. For instance, they may hide information about finances, or begin to lie about where they have been.
When these symptoms become apparent in the life of someone around you, it is critical to get them treatment right away. Gambling addiction can have terrible negative effects on family, finances, friendships and personal health.
If you are the one struggling with a gambling addiction do not hesitate to seek support. Take the steps necessary to protect yourself and those around you by finding a treatment center.
An addiction treatment center can help a patient with a gambling addiction cope with the issues of life, giving them alternative means to deal with the stress. Many find frequent exercise, time with family and friends or time spent learning a new activity or hobby distracts them from their desire to gamble and helps to ease their impulses. If you do suffer from a serious problem, or have a friend that you feel poses a threat to themselves or others due to their addiction, it is best to immediately seek out an addiction treatment center to get medical help and begin the path to recovery.