Gambling addiction is a very serious issue that doesn’t get enough attention in our society. The main reason is that people feel that gambling addicts have brought it on their heads themselves. The truth is that it could happen to anyone. Seemingly overnight, a fun activity transforms into a monster demanding all your time and money. And it doesn’t stop there. Around 44% of all gambling addicts also have issues with alcohol abuse as well. Whether one causes the other is unclear, but the problem is aggravated. People suffering from gambling addiction don’t care about the consequences of their gambling even when sober. When drunk, they lose all modicum of control. Gambling alone is a big problem but combined with alcohol or drugs, it is devastating.
How to Recognize Gambling Addiction
Gambling addicts can appear to have a healthy lifestyle, without any physical symptoms manifesting. However, there are some certain signs that can help identify the problem. If you feel the need to be secretive about your gambling, that means that you already know that something is wrong. The other sign is having trouble stepping away from gambling, once you start. Closing the application or putting your phone away may present a challenge. Continued gambling, even when you can’t afford it is another telltale symptom. Many addicts can easily burn through rent or food money in a single session. Finally, if your friends and family start worrying about you, they probably have a good reason. Spotting these signs by yourself is not easy. That is why it is important to listen to others around you.
The general consensus is that online casinos don’t care about their players who develop a gambling addiction. It does seem logical that it works to their advantage, but that is simply not true. Even leaving moral issues aside, in the long run, casino, and the industry as a whole, suffer from having gambling addicts visit their sites. The public opinion is something the iGaming industry has always had problems with. The last thing they need is a public outcry of casinos taking advantage of gambling addiction. They are just are becoming a part of mainstream entertainment and they can do without the hustle. Many casinos take online gambling addiction seriously and will do their utmost to help people who develop such problems. Casinos are implementing technological advancements like AI that predict players’ behavior. This can go a long way toward preventing gambling addiction by recognizing risky behavior.
Eliminate Elements That Lead to Gambling from Your Life
There are four main elements that lead to gambling. They are a decision, money, time, and a game. Each time you gamble, you are making a conscious decision to do so. Instead, stop and call someone you can talk to. Think about what you are doing and consider the consequences. Gambling can’t happen if you don’t have any money. Having someone else manage your money until you are well again is often a good idea. Another thing you need to eliminate is time. If you are too busy doing something you enjoy, you won’t have enough time to gamble. A hobby can do wonders for any addiction including a gambling one. Finally, you need something to gamble on. By removing yourself from such a situation, you are reducing your chances of relapsing. Deinstall all gambling apps from your phone. Have someone install blocks on your computer that will prevent you from accessing online gambling sites.
Methods for Self-Help
There are other things you can do to help yourself, besides eliminating gambling elements. Learn what you can do to manage your stress levels. Stress is a major trigger that can lead you to relapse. Try to recognize the situations that cause gambling cravings, like loneliness or boredom, and avoid them. A solid support network is always a big help. Your friends and family can lend you a hand and be there for you. Find groups that share similar interests and join them. There are also organizations like Gamblers Anonymous that can offer peer support, which can be vital. Getting support and advice from people who are going through the same problems as you are is invaluable. You should also explore are there any underlying issues that caused you to seek refuge in gambling. Things like anxiety or depression can serve as a path toward addiction.
Find Alternative Activities to Substitute Gambling
There are many activities you can do to help relieve the gambling cravings. We already mentioned hobbies. It can be anything, as long as you enjoy it. Whether it is woodworking, knitting, or sports, any activity that can help you get gambling out of your mind is acceptable. Exercise is another popular option. It will also help you reduce your stress levels. Boredom and loneliness can be difficult to overcome, especially if you live alone. Seeking the company of other people can help you with that. Take a class on a subject that interests you, like art or culture. It is a good opportunity to meet other people with similar interests.
Seek Professional Help
Unfortunately, mental health issues still carry a stigma with them. Many people who suffer from them are disinclined to seek help fearing the reaction of their surroundings. Online gambling addiction is no different. Admitting that you have a problem is often very hard to do, even to yourself, let alone some stranger. Still, professional therapists are the best way of dealing with this issue. There are many kinds of therapy that deal with gambling addiction. Your therapist will be able to suggest the best one for you, after hearing about your case. Whether it is cognitive-behavioral therapy, family therapy, or rehabilitation, or even a combination of the above, a professional will be in a much better situation to make a choice than you would be on your own.
Despite what the general public feels about gambling addiction, it is a serious issue that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Recognizing symptoms and finding help are the first steps to recovery. Even if they manage to stop gambling, many addicts have trouble staying away from it. Relapses are a common occurrence and the greatest risk to those in recovery. That is why it is important to stay vigilant and recognize triggers before they have a chance to lead to gambling.
Jessie Connor is a passionate writer and researcher from Brisbane, contributor at several business and lifestyle blogs, hooked on yoga and healthy living. She loves to spend her free time traveling, reading and of course – shopping!