Those with serious gambling problems need to understand some of the major signs that point towards addiction, why it is often referred to as the hidden addiction, and the fact that professional treatment is available and should be taken advantage of.
A compulsive desire that needs to be acted upon:
Addiction to gambling is shown by those with a compulsive desire to gamble, and while gambling, the person is unable to control this behaviour.
In effect, once a gambling spree commences it will continue despite the fact the gambler is aware of the potentially serious social and financial implications their actions can bring.
While many with gambling problems have a punt daily, this is not always the case, there are those who will go on an excessive gambling binge and then do very little until their next gambling blow-out.
What constitutes an addiction to gambling?
Unlike men and women who have a dependence upon illegal drugs or alcohol, those with gambling issues show no obvious sign of their problem. This makes it difficult for others to notice any signs that actually point to the gambler having a serious problem, but the individual with an insatiable need to place a bet is acutely aware of signs that are contributing to their ever growing problems.
If questioned it is common practice for most with gambling problems to deny any of these traits, and as long as this refusal to acknowledge key pointers is maintained the gambler will continue placing bets regardless of the consequences this action brings.
Once started, very difficult to stop:
Once a compulsive gambler begins gambling it is very difficult for them to stop. Their betting session will continue as long as it can possibly be maintained.
Time becomes irrelevant. If losing their reasoning for continuing will be that they will soon turn things around. On the other hand, if they are winning, many feel this is their lucky streak and will keep going in the expectation that winnings will continue to increase.
Increasing stakes to recoup losses:
Those who have suffered losses should accept this and walk away, but an addict is very likely to increase their stake on the next and subsequent bets in an attempt to win back money previously lost.
There may be occasions when this ‘gamble’ pays off, but often it leads to even heavier losses. It is not uncommon for someone with a gambling problem to spend all the money they have available at the time in one session.
Spending money you do not have:
If you are taking cash advances on credit cards, taking out loans, borrowing money, selling possessions, or have advanced to stealing from family members or friends to fund your gambling habit then this is a clear sign that things are well out of order and that you need to face up to your situation.
Tried and failed to stop gambling:
Many people with a gambling problem make a concerted effort to stop, but the urge becomes so great that they find themselves having another punt. If you have tried to stop and want to stop but find this is not possible then you really do need to seek professional help.
Denial will delay much needed professional help:
It is well known that a major factor with any type of addiction is denial, so while a person is well aware that their gambling habit has gone far beyond the realms of acceptability they will convince themselves that this is not the case, and that given time they will have things under control.
While this denial continues it will prevent a person from seeking help. It cannot be stressed strongly enough just how important it is to admit to yourself that your gambling is out of control and you need help.
Treatment is available:
Well-established rehabilitation establishments have long experience with helping those addicted and can assist you.
The treatment, support and encouragement given will take time, and it will be no walk in the park, but the structure behind such treatment has been seen to be effective time and again.
By helping you understand the root cause of your problem, and then progressing through recovery with some serious counselling it is possible for you to rebuild your life.
Many feel that a stay as an inpatient at a rehab centre is the most positive way to go in terms of treatment.
This not only takes you out of the environment where gambling opportunities are very familiar and temptation is everywhere, but it allows for fully focused treatment in calm and comfortable surroundings.
This type of setting and ongoing treatment gives an ideal springboard to loosen the shackles that gambling addiction has placed on you, and allow you to work on putting your life back together.