Gambling addiction, also referred to as compulsive gambling, is an impulse-control disorder. Gambling is a source of entertainment and can be profitable, but it’s not reasonable to expect that you’ll always win. Excessive gambling can lead to serious financial and personal problems.
How can you recognize when gambling may be a problem? This seems to be a question that is asked by lots of beginner gamblers. If you have clicked on this page and you are interested in gambling, it goes without saying that it’s important to know the signs.
Being self-aware and knowing your own gambling habits is important in avoiding making bad decisions as far as your bankroll is concerned, and if you’re already on this page chances are you’re a responsible gambler and can afford it.
But there are situations when gambling can become a serious addiction. The overall exciting experience overtakes an individual’s life, resulting in the person gambling even when they know their gambling activities is hurting them financially and in other aspects of their life.
Should you gamble? The answer to the question is simple. Like alcoholism, just a small percentage of people who gamble online or at land-based casinos are susceptible to gambling addiction. If you think you would be more susceptible to getting a addicted, then you should avoid gambling altogether.
If you have compulsive tendencies, you will definitely be at greater risk. No one knows for sure exactly what causes compulsive gambling. Some believe it’s a hereditary addiction, while others believe it’s something that gets progressively worse over time. The truth of the matter is that it’s likely a combination of the two.
Gambling Addiction Symptoms
There are various quizzes you can take on the Internet. But for your convenience, we’ve listed below some of the most important warning signs:
- Need to increase the stakes to get the thrill.
- Increase your bets when losing.
- Take time off from work to gamble.
- Thinking obsessively about gambling.
- Borrowing or stealing money.
- Gambling as a way to escape problems or negative emotions.
- Need to hide/lie your gambling habits from family and friends.
The Trap of Denial
There are many ways that a gambling addiction can manifest itself over time and the urge to gamble can become a huge compulsion. One of the main problems is that usually it’s not immediately obvious to the gambler when they first show signs. Even in case of a full blown gambling addiction, the signs are extremely obvious, but the gambler remains in denial about the problem.
The gambler will often have shame and guilt about their gambling habits and will not want to admit them to their spouse or partner. But as much as family and friends can be a support network, the only person who can cure a gambling addiction is the person with the gambling problem, since they have to want to help themselves.
The illusion of control (having the belief that you can stop anytime or that you can control the outcome betting a specific strategy, etc) is common with compulsive gamblers. Gaining a better understanding of the games you’re playing can help to disprove any systems or strategies you may think can be profitable for you in the long run.
In 90% of the cases, self-discipline is the way to go. If you don’t have money, you can’t gamble, so setting strict limits or limiting access to money is the first step to recovery. You shouldn’t deal with it on our won. It’s extremely important to be honest with your loved ones, allowing them to provide the necessary support, instead of becoming a ground for additional guilt and self-destruction habits. Last, if you have even the slightest suspicion that you start developing a gambling problem, you should strongly consider getting professional support (see the list below).