Perhaps you like to buy a scratch off lottery ticket once a week. Head to the dog or horse races once every couple months for fun. While activities that involve betting on people or objects are fine and can be entertaining. It crosses the line into an addiction when gambling becomes an integral part of life. This means that your addiction to gambling is put ahead of other things in life, including family and friends. This may also mean that work, finances, and thought processes are negatively affected. If you are gambling with money that is needed or has been set aside for something else. Continue betting even though you have lost a large amount. Or just waiting for that ‘next big break’, then you probably have an addiction to gambling.
Like any addiction this can happen slowly over time or after one attempt at gambling, usually a win. Also like other addictions, gambling addictions are treatable.
Addiction To Gambling
Addiction To Gambling goes by many names. Pathological gambling, gambling disorder, and compulsive gambling, but all are impulse control disorders. If you have an impulse control disorder you cannot control the impulse to gamble. Even when the effects are known and negative. You probably gamble when you are up, down, broke, or flush with cash. Maybe you fall more into the category that you are not totally out of control, but if gambling is disrupting your life at all you have an addiction that will likely get worse over time if not treated. Gambling addiction problems tend to be associated with co-morbid behavior or mood disorders. This means that those with gambling issues may also have ADHD, bipolar, anxiety, substance abuse issues, or a host of other related problems.
If you are still unsure if your gambling is an issue consider the warning signs shared below.
Feeling the need to be secretive about your gambling, even if you are winning, typically means there is a problem. Having trouble controlling your gambling, such as trying to win back lost money or placing increasingly higher bets regardless of your financial situation means there is a problem. Choosing gambling over paying bills or stealing to get more money to gamble and having friends and family worry about your gambling are also signs of an addiction.
As with any addiction, gambling addiction treatment starts with the realization that you have a problem. You are not the first with this issue and you will not be the last. As gambling is often a way to deal with strong emotions, good and bad, you must learn to handle these emotions in a healthier manner. Some people exercise, some find others to spend time with who do not like to gamble, and others find other hobbies to fill the time.
Know that this is not an addiction that can be handled alone and a strong support group should be in place. This group should have people you can trust and be honest with and who will confront you when you are failing while supporting your victories. If you need to turn your finances over to a trusted individual short term so you can get your life back on track. Finally, if a co-morbid disorder exists, seek treatment to it no longer effects the gambling urges. You can recover from a gambling addiction, but it is not easy. However, if you are willing to do the work a normal, gambling free life is possible.
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