Addiction – When Gambling Becomes a Problem

While most people enjoy casino gambling, sports betting, lottery and bingo playing for the fun and excitement it provides, others may experience gambling as an addictive and distractive habit. Statistics show that while 85 percent of the adult population in the US enjoys some type of gambling every year, between 2 and 3 percent of will develop a gambling problem and 1 percent of them are diagnosed as pathological gamblers.

Where can you draw the line between harmless gambling to problem gambling? How can you tell if you or your friend are compulsive gamblers? Here you can find answers to these questions and other questions regarding problem gambling and gambling addiction.

What is the Meaning of Problem Gambling?

Problem gambling or compulsive gambling is defined as an uncontrollable urge to gamble despite the destructive effect of gambling on the gamblers life and despite feelings of guilt and remorse. Problem gambling tends to have a negative effect on the gamblers financial state, relationships and daily life. Severe cases of problem gambling can be defined as pathological gambling.

Am I a Compulsive Gambler?

1) Do you gamble until your last penny runs out?

2) Do you gamble to win back your former losses or debts?

3) Did you ever had to borrow money to continue gamble?

4) Did your gambling habit ever made you lie to your friends or family?

5) Did you ever skip work or other obligation to gamble?

6) Do you tend to gamble to forget about your personal problems or to celebrate happy occasions?

7) Does gambling have a negative affect on your daily life or relationships?

If you have answered yes on at least one of the questions listed above, then you have a problem.

Can Anyone Become a Compulsive Gambler?

Theoretically, yes. Any gambler can develop gambling problem regardless to the type of gambling he is occupied with, the amount of money and time he is spending on gambling. Researches show that slot machines that can be found in bars and convenient stores are the most addictive type of gambling activity, while lottery draws and bingo games are located on the other end of the scale. Gambling addiction is an emotional problem; its symptoms, causes and treatments are similar to any other form of addiction.

How Can I treat Gambling Addiction?

1) Group Therapy:

Gamblers Anonymous offers a 12 step self help program similar to the one offered to alcohol addicts in Alcoholics Anonymous. Group therapy also offers gambling addicts advice and support from professional counselors and other gambling addicts in different phases of their recovery process. Gambler Anonymous centers are available in more than 1,200 locations statewide.

2) Individual Therapy:

Cognitive or behavior therapy can help gambling addicts to identify their unaware thinking and acting patterns, which led them to gamble compulsively, and to replace them with controllable and healthier ways of thinking.

3) Psychiatric Medication:

It has recently been proven that antidepressant medications from the family of SSRIs, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors can be affective in treatment of gambling addicts.

You Need Help To Quit Gambling For Good

Are you worried about the gambling habit of someone in your household? Undoubtedly it is the spouses, family members and loved ones that suffer as a consequence of a gambling addiction. Knowing which course of action to take can prove to be a difficult one. Quit Gambling for Good is a solution that can help the gambler within your family to come to terms with their problem and stop gambling. To the compulsive gambler knowing there is a problem and admitting there is a problem are two different matters. To the rest of the family,they just know there is a problem, a problem that needs to be addressed.

The Quit Gambling for Good guide identifies, discusses and addresses the financial, psychological, physical and emotional impacts of those surrounding problem gamblers (list below).

Types Of Gambling
Types Of Gamblers
Real Life Gambling
On line Gambling
Why On line Gambling Is Not Good
How Gambling Influences On Family/Families
Why Should You Stop Gambling
Benefits And Advantages Of Stopping Gambling
Quit Gambling! Don’t Ruin Your Life!
How To Stop On line Gambling
Ways To Stop Being Addicted To Gambling!

These adverse effects can also lead to marital disharmony or even divorce and family break ups, maybe you are a victim of these circumstances.

The impact of the on line Poker phenomenon in particular is a major contributing factor causing high levels of out of control gambling. On line poker is rapidly becoming one of the most popular gambling games at on line casinos and gaming websites on the Internet. The main reason for this popularity is the belief that it is a game of skill in which enormous cash prizes can be won. This belief is a fallacy. Skillful play will never help gamblers to win money at on line poker because winning money at on line poker is impossible.

The top poker players in the world do not play poker at gambling websites. Some top poker players may say they do only because of getting paid for endorsements. These top poker players know they can beat the other players, but that they cannot beat the house. There is not anybody on the face of this earth who can make money playing on line poker. Even the world’s best poker player will never be good enough to overcome the “rake” which is the house cut from each pot.

To digress generally, many articles have stated that gambling of which there are many forms, casinos, horse racetracks, sports betting, stock market trading, Internet gambling websites, card games, bingo parlors, gambling machines, lotteries and more is one of the fastest growing worldwide problems.

The gambling industry is out there constantly trying to exploit the weak and vulnerable with influential factors such as government and politician endorsement ,media such as TV, radio, newspapers, books,magazines,sports leagues,movies and TV shows, advertising and the Internet.

Some Answers to Your Questions About Gambling Addiction

How Do I Know If I Have A Gambling Addiction?
You will know if you have a gambling addiction if gambling has affected your life negatively socially, emotionally, financially and spiritually. If you have gambled alone, and have missed work, lost more than you could afford, or lied about gambling, you more than likely have a gambling addiction. “Compulsive Gambling” is considered an impulse control disorder and is characterized by unstoppable thoughts and uncontrollable impulses to gamble. “Problem Gambling” is considered less severe than compulsive gambling, but it is still a very serious problem.

Someone in my family is addicted to gambling. What should I do?
There are many paths you could take when a family member is addicted to gambling. You can go to a gamanon meeting yourself to get 12 -Step support from other family members of gamblers.(Check links and resources). This might be a good first step in finding out how to approach your family member, since every situation is different. Please check resources page for more information on this topic.

I have a gambling addiction and I have lost a lot of money. I am in debt, and I do not know what to do. Can you help?
Going into debt is one of the biggest after-effects of a gambling addiction. It can effect the gambler long after he or she stops gambling and is one of the long-term consequences of gambling addiction. When you attend a Gamblers Anonymous 12-Step Group you can find support from trusted members on how to deal with your debt problems. Please also visit the links and resources page to find out more about debt and credit solutions as a result of your gambling addiction. Remember, gambling addiction is not a money problem.. it is an emotional and spiritual problem with financial consequences.

Can I have a gambling addiction if I go to the casino.. but mostly win?
Yes. There are 4 phases of a gambling addiction. 1. Winning Phase: Usually starts with a big win and a belief that good luck will continue indefinitely. 2. Losing Phase: More pre-occupied with gambling. You are gambling alone, missing work, lying about your whereabouts, and beginning to chase your losses. 3. Desperation Phase: This is truly characterized by a loss of control, preoccupation with gambling, defaulting on most debt, cheating or stealing,loss of job or primary relationship. 4. Hopeless Phase: You hit rock bottom. You may also start abusing drugs or alcohol. Suicide thoughts and attempts are common in this phase.

I gamble when I am lonely and depressed. How come?
You are most likely known as an “escape gambler” You gamble to escape emotional pain. Most “escape gamblers” can become addicted to slot machines, online gambling, and bingo. An “action gambler” is someone who enjoys risk taking and gambles on games of skill such as sports betting, the stock market, and cards. “Action-gamblers” have been traditionally male, however, the genders are becoming well represented in each group.