The Warning Signs of Gambling Addiction
Gambling may be a way to self-soothe unpleasant emotions, unwind, or socialize. If you have an urge: At the same time, you might be furious at your loved one for gambling again and tired of trying to keep up the charade. Checking in with friends, looking at pictures, watching videos before you realize it hours have gone by. Join a peer support group. Some gamblers are called at-risk gamblers. The exact details can be found on the operator websites that we direct you to when you click on an offer.
What is gambling addiction and problem gambling?
Did you often gamble until your last dollar was gone? Did you ever borrow to finance your gambling? Have you ever sold anything to finance gambling? Were you reluctant to use "gambling money" for normal expenditures? Did gambling make you careless of the welfare of yourself or your family? Did you ever gamble longer than you had planned? Have you ever gambled to escape worry or trouble? Have you ever committed, or considered committing, an illegal act to finance gambling? Did gambling cause you to have difficulty in sleeping?
Do arguments, disappointments or frustrations create within you an urge to gamble? Did you ever have an urge to celebrate any good fortune by a few hours of gambling? Have you ever considered self destruction or suicide as a result of your gambling? If the answer is "yes" to at least seven of these questions, Gambler's Anonymous would consider the person answering a compulsive gambler.
To determine if you are living with someone who might be a compulsive gambler take the assessment questionnaire pdf. There are different types of gamblers. They are able to: Decide on a loss limit ahead of time and stick to it? Never borrow money to gamble? Set a time limit? Balance gambling with other activities?
Don't gamble when highly stressed, depressed or troubled in some other way? Only gamble with money set aside for entertainment, never with money for everyday expenses. Some social gamblers are very serious about their gambling. They go to bingo every Thursday night, and they let little interfere with bingo or poker night. These gamblers are called serious social gamblers. They are like other people who might be serious about working out or playing tennis or golf. These gamblers gamble regularly, but they are able to quit without showing signs of withdrawal or irritability.
Some gamblers are called at-risk gamblers. This term means different things to different people. It can mean people who fit certain characteristics. For instance, studies show that adolescent boys who cut school or smoke cigarettes have a higher incidence of gambling behaviors. An adolescent boy who smokes and cuts school could then be called "at risk" for gambling problems because others with similar characteristics gamble at a higher rate than that of the general population.
The term, problem gambler, is used to describe someone who scores on the South Oaks Gambling Screen. In a less scientific way, it is also used to describe anyone who is exhibiting any problems because of gambling. Warning signs of a gambling problem. A person might be considered a compulsive gambler if he or she can answer affirmatively to seven of the Twenty Questions from Gambler's Anonymous. The 20 questions are listed above, in the section entitled, How do I know if someone has a gambling problem.
The word, compulsion, according to Webster's New College Dictionary, means "An irresistible impulse to act irrationally. It is found among other Impulse Control Disorders, not otherwise specified, There is a list of ten criteria pdf , of which a person must admit to five, to be diagnosed as a pathological gambler. Gambling may be a way to self-soothe unpleasant emotions, unwind, or socialize. Strengthen your support network. If your support network is limited, there are ways to make new friends without relying on visiting casinos or gambling online.
Try reaching out to colleagues at work, joining a sports team or book club, enrolling in an education class, or volunteering for a good cause. Join a peer support group. Gamblers Anonymous, for example, is a twelve-step recovery program patterned after Alcoholics Anonymous. A key part of the program is finding a sponsor, a former gambler who has experience remaining free from addiction and can provide you invaluable guidance and support.
Anxiety Disorders and Anxiety Attacks: Recognizing and Getting Help. Seek help for underlying mood disorders. Online casinos and bookmakers are open all day, every day for anyone with a smartphone or access to a computer. One way to stop gambling is to remove the elements necessary for gambling to occur in your life and replace them with healthier choices.
The four elements needed for gambling to continue are:. For gambling to happen, you need to make the decision to gamble. If you have an urge: Gambling cannot occur without money. Get rid of your credit cards, let someone else be in charge of your money, have the bank make automatic payments for you, close online betting accounts, and keep only a limited amount of cash on you.
Schedule enjoyable recreational time for yourself that has nothing to do with gambling. Without a game or activity to bet on there is no opportunity to gamble. Tell gambling establishments you frequent that you have a gambling problem and ask them to restrict you from entering. Remove gambling apps and block gambling sites on your smartphone and computer.
Maintaining recovery from gambling addiction depends a lot on finding alternative behaviors you can substitute for gambling. Counseling, enroll in a public speaking class, join a social group, connect with family and friends, volunteer , find new friends.
As little as 15 minutes of daily exercise can relieve stress. Or deep breathing, meditation, or massage. Feeling the urge to gamble is normal, but as you build healthier choices and a strong support network, resisting cravings will become easier. When a gambling craving strikes:. Call a trusted family member, meet a friend for coffee, or go to a Gamblers Anonymous meeting.
As you wait, the urge to gamble may pass or become weak enough to resist. Visualize what will happen if you give in to the urge to gamble. Accessing the Relaxation Response. Distract yourself with another activity , such as going to the gym, watching a movie, or practicing a relaxation exercise for gambling cravings. Overcoming a gambling addiction is a tough process. You may slip from time to time; the important thing is to learn from your mistakes and continue working towards recovery.
Talk to your doctor or mental health professional about different treatment options, including:. Inpatient or residential treatment and rehab programs. These are aimed at those with severe gambling addiction who are unable to avoid gambling without round-the-clock support. Treatment for underlying conditions contributing to your compulsive gambling, including substance abuse or mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, OCD, or ADHD.
This could include therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes. Problem gambling can sometimes be a symptom of bipolar disorder , so your doctor or therapist may need to rule this out before making a diagnosis. CBT for gambling addiction focuses on changing unhealthy gambling behaviors and thoughts, such as rationalizations and false beliefs. It can also teach you how to fight gambling urges and solve financial, work, and relationship problems caused by problem gambling.
Therapy can provide you with the tools for coping with your addiction that will last a lifetime. Family therapy and marriage, career, and credit counseling.
These can help you work through the specific issues that have been created by your problem gambling and lay the foundation for repairing your relationships and finances. If your loved one has a gambling problem, you likely have many conflicting emotions.
You may have spent a lot of time and energy trying to keep your loved one from gambling or having to cover for them. At the same time, you might be furious at your loved one for gambling again and tired of trying to keep up the charade. Your loved one may have borrowed or even stolen money with no way to pay it back. They may have sold family possessions or run up huge debts on joint credit cards.
While compulsive and problem gamblers need the support of their family and friends to help them in their struggle to stop gambling, the decision to quit has to be theirs. As much as you may want to, and as hard as it is seeing the effects, you cannot make someone stop gambling.
However, you can encourage them to seek help, support them in their efforts, protect yourself, and take any talk of suicide seriously. When faced with the consequences of their actions, problem gamblers can suffer a crushing drop in self-esteem.
This is one reason why there is a high rate of suicide among compulsive gamblers. If you suspect your loved one is feeling suicidal, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in the U.
Gam-Anon for the problem gambler's spouse, family members, or close friends. Gamcare — Offers support, information, and advice for those with a gambling problem in the UK.
Call the helpline Call Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.