Gambling is part of the fabric in many societies and is a pastime enjoyed by millions of men and women on a regular basis.
The vast majority take it for what it can offer; excitement, enjoyment and an opportunity to benefit financially or to win prizes large and small.
As long as the stake placed is well within your means and this occasional flutter remains just that, the thrill of gambling can be a pleasant diversion. Unfortunately, far too many find its addictive qualities something they cannot control.
Let’s take a look at some of the progressing signs that should tell you to back away before things get out of hand. We will also touch on some of the problems dependence upon gambling is famed for, and what professional help is required for those who are too far down the line to stop placing bets.
Crossing the ‘losing’ line:
In gambling parlance, crossing the winning line first is where we all want to be, but it is extremely important to realise that whatever form of gambling takes your fancy, the odds on offer make you an outsider well before the off.
The casino operators and bookmakers see to that. Charities they are certainly not! And this is seen in the odds offered for whatever bet you place.
Of course, someone has to win, but for every winner it is a dead cert there are many more losers.
If you start to find that losing is affecting your mood, attitude and temper then it is time to back-off.
Ever higher stakes placed:
This is a classic sign that the thrill once felt when placing a bet is being replaced by something deeper and far more damaging.
Your first couple of punts go down, then a winner pops up, after that, losing becomes a far more regular occurrence and the stakes you have placed, and lost begin to mount up.
Many are compelled to gamble on an ‘obvious’ solution; up the stakes on the next bet and recoup those loses.
It sounds great in principle, but the reality is far less certain. Even if this risk pays off many gamblers will simply have broken even on the outlay spent during their latest gambling session.
The obvious downside to this approach is if this bigger gamble does not come off. The ‘reward’ is deepening worry, increasing financial strain, and an even stronger urge to recoup your outlay at the next gambling opportunity.
Once you have started, you are finding it harder to stop:
Many who are in the early stages of gambling will quite sensibly have a preset limit to play with. If they make a profit, then its smiles all round, if it is lost, a shrug of the shoulders and a ‘better luck next time’ attitude is taken.
The problem is that the more regularly this novice group begin to gamble, the more they are becoming hooked. Many quickly allocate larger funds to their ‘pot’, and once they get into the adrenalin fuelled atmosphere of gambling they find it harder and harder to stop.
This is regardless of whether they are winning, losing or breaking even, and is a sure sign the betting bug is beginning to bite deeper.
Gambling even when you do not have the finances:
The raft of ‘walk-in’ gambling opportunities open to many is already mind-boggling and online gambling has simply heaped explosive fuel onto the burning betting fire.
24/7/365 is not necessarily the lottery jackpot number this week (although it could well be!), it is how many hours each day of every week, throughout the year a bet can be placed.
Every 4th year you even get an extra day thanks to leap year. Those who cannot resist a punt will do so even though they have emptied their bank accounts, maxed out their credit cards, and probably started to borrow or steal money to feed their habit.
Please be very clear; if you have reached this stage, then urgent professional rehab assistance is required.
Why do so many continue to gamble?
Compulsive gamblers suffer from uncontrollable urges to gamble. This is because they have an impulse-control disorder. The act of gambling stimulates the brain’s reward system in a similar way to how alcohol affects an alcoholic.
Those addicted to gambling cannot resist. This is despite the fact they know personal, relationship and financial heartbreak are rapidly gathering momentum.
They also live in denial of their problem, it is this denial that prevents so many from seeking help until their personal life is in tatters. Relationships with their partners can become untenable, they have financial problems galore, and unsurprisingly many suffer from illnesses such as depression, stress and anxiety.
To make matters worse many have been increasingly using alcohol or illegal substances as an additional crutch.
Professional rehab assistance is an absolute must:
It may often seem to those who are suffering from a gambling disorder that there is no way out. If you are currently in this situation it is vital to understand that professional help is available, and while there will be extremely challenging issues to confront and overcome, it is eminently achievable.
A stay as an inpatient at a rehabilitation centre is certainly a very positive way to go. You will be taken out of your normal environment, helped to understand the root cause of how and why your gambling began, and reasons it has spiraled out of all control.
Intensive counselling will help you to come to terms with and overcome your gambling urges. Just as importantly you will learn how to avoid potential relapse situations and important aftercare options will be recommended.
Many also find regular attendance of voluntary group meetings help maintain their abstinence.
If excessive and uncontrollable gambling is currently destroying your life, please contact a qualified rehab establishment now. It is one punt you are strongly advised to take.