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.

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When a Gambling Addiction Goes Untreated it Can Lead to Many Life Problems

If you or a loved one has a gambling problem, you can probably understand the title of the article. Left untreated, a severe gambling habit or severe gambling addiction can create tremendous pain for the gambler or the family of the gambler.

What happens when this addiction goes untreated? Do things stay the same for the gambler, or does it get worse? Research has shown that things actually get worse for the gambler. Every aspect of life can start spiraling downward in all areas of the gamblers’ life.

The areas of the addicted gamblers’ life that are affected include the social, emotional, physical, spiritual, mental, and financial areas of life. All of these areas of life can become affected when the gambler continues to gamble obsessively and compulsively. This can truly create a high level stress and incomprehensible demoralization.

Social Aspects:
The person with the gambling problem begins to lose friends because gambling becomes the primary relationship. Social isolation happens with both families, friends, and a sense of community becomes dimininished.

Emotional Aspects:
When this addiction goes untreated, the emotional consequences are huge. Out of control gambling contributes to depression, anxiety, sadness, and indifference in the addicted gambler. Depression, stress, and anxiety can become so severe, that this can result in suicide. Gambling has the highest suicide rate of all addictions many times over.

Physical Aspects:
The physical consequences of an untreated gambling illness are a cause for concern. When a person is obsessed with gambling and has a compulsive gambling addiction, this can affect the physical health of the gambler. Usually, when someone is addicted to gambling they neglect all aspects of their health. The health of the gambler deteriorates, which contributes to lack of self-care, depression, poor nutrition, and lack of sleep.

Mental Aspects:
The consequences of an untreated gambling are numerous mentally for the gambler. Lack of motivation, indifference, and lack of concern for important things can affect a compulsive gambler. When a persona is in the grips of a gambling addiction, thinking is not rational. The main obsession is on gambling, or when the gambler can place his or her next bet. When this happens, thinking is compromised, as well as values. It is hard to think rationally and be mentally clear when the most important thing is sitting in front of a slot machine.

Spiritual Aspects:
When a person is struggling with a severe gambling problem, their spiritual life is truly compromised. When a person is spiritual, there is a connection between the person and the world around them. Spiritually may also consist of a relationship with a higher power or a power greater than themselves. This cannot happen in the grips of a gambling addiction, as the primary relationship is with the gambling itself.

Financial Aspects:
The financial consequences of an untreated gambling disorder are huge and cannot be understated. The devastation here is too huge to describe, as many gamblers have gotten into such severe gambling debt that it is truly incomprehensible. Many gamblers and their families have lost their homes, and maxed out credit cards. Bankruptcy is very common for those with a gambling related problems.

It is hoped that these consequences of gambling problems can help you understand how an untreated addiction to gambling has the power to destroy lives.

Thankfully, there is help for a gambling addiction and people can stop gambling and reclaim their lives. The downward spiral of this addiction is truly stoppable with the right gambling help.

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Gambling Addiction Statistics, Symptoms, And Stories

Compulsive gambling addiction is a type of addiction that has become more and more common due to online gambling websites. People that suffer from a gambling addiction risk their whole lives and are even willing to cheat and steal to continue supporting their habit of gambling. It is a seemingly uncontrollable urge that a person gets to place a bet of some sort without weighing the consequences and negative effects that it may have on their lives or others.

Gambling Addiction Statistics

- According to gambling statistics, approximately 500 billion dollars are spent annually on wagers.

- In the United State, about 2.5 percent of adults are considered problem gamblers

- this type of addiction is most common among white Americans.

- it is commonly associated with alcoholism

- People with this addiction are more prone to diseases such as depression and mood swing disorder.

- The divorce rate of gambler addicts are more than double that of a non-gambler.

Gambling Addict Symptoms

One of the most prominent warning symptoms of this addiction is fixation. If you hear someone constantly bring up the casinos or ways to get money to go to the casino on a consistent basis then you are probably looking at someone that has or may develop a serious gambling problem. People with gambling problems are fixated and are always planning their next excursion.

Another indicator of someone having a gambling problem is if they seem to be increasing the wagers they place on a regular basis. Gambling is like a drug for a compulsive gambler. They start off with a small amount, then increase the dosage.

Lying and alienation from family and friends is another sign that someone may have a gambling issue. A lot of people with a gambling problems know that they have a problem and feel guilty about it. It is because of this that they feel the need to lie about their whereabouts to family and friends. They may also lie about the amount that they gamble.

Alienation from family and friends is a huge sign that their gambling problem has developed into a full-blown gambling addiction. Once someone starts doing this,you know that gambling is consuming their lives. If it gets to this point, they are in danger of destroying their lives and the lives of those around them. Someone at this level should definitely seek gambling addiction counseling.

Gambling Stories

Many people out there end up completely destroying their lives by falling victim to this addiction. A lot of times they find themselves in denial and when they don’t have the funds and aren’t able to get them, to support their habit, they turn to extreme measures, such as lying and thievery. If they aren’t able to get the funds they need that way or if they aren’t willing to take this route, they become irritable, angry, depressed, and sometimes suicidal.

There is a lot of addiction information on the internet. It is important to educate yourself on this addiction if you feel that you or someone you love may be gambling problems.

For help on gambling addiction recovery you may want to look up a gamblers anonymous group in your area.

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Gambling Addiction and Its Behavioral Effects

Gambling addiction is a serious mental health disorder, which can be identified in two ways: a person either a) continuously bet on things using money or objects that hold value even though negative consequences arise as a result, or, b) they cannot stop gambling even if they desired to. People suffering from gambling addiction often display a strong urge to bet on a wide-range of gambling mediums-from sports games to poker, to choosing lottery numbers and throwing dice. And although friends and family members of compulsive gamblers don’t see the symptoms physically, like they often do with alcoholics or drug abusers, the consequences gambling addiction has serious implications on their lives as well as the lives of their friends and families. Not realizing its severity or taking it too lightly can be devastating for the addicted gambler in the long run. Gamblers can reach a point of literally losing everything, from cars, to homes, to businesses, and even respect from those they care about.

It’s well-known that Florida is notorious for providing “the hotspot” for gamblers all over the world, as well as its residents. But how many gamblers actually endure financial problems? A recent survey by the Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling shed light on card playing, reporting that 70% of these people had trouble paying their bills. But here’s the worst part, which is known to be a side-effect of excessive gambling–1 in 3 of these card players admitted to having participated in illicit activities in order to finance their gambling. Playing cards isn’t as harmless as we thought; criminal activity is still a cause for concern.

Gambling addicts are not always obvious about their situation; sometimes they don’t even realize it themselves. They don’t dwell on what has been lost as a result of their destructive activities and behaviors. Instead, compulsive gamblers only focus on the gains, or the supposed investment aspect of the games they play. And unlike drug or alcohol addiction, a person addicted to gambling will not display symptoms such as heavy fatigue, sickness, loss of energy or dizziness; instead, other factors are apparent, such as falling into deep financial trouble, losing quality time with the ones they love, and heightening the chances of entering into drug or alcohol addiction.

It’s difficult to establish who has a gambling problem and who doesn’t. Where is the threshold between social gamblers, and abusive gamblers? Are there any red flags? The answer is yes. Pathological gamblers often display one or more of the following signs: negligent of family get-togethers, acts on criminal behavior in order to acquire more stuff to bet on, would rather gamble then hang out with friends, talk excessively about gambling and winning money, use drugs or alcohol to distract them from wanting to gamble more, become irritated when not gambling, neglect vital responsibilities for gambling time, and lying to family and friends about going out gambling. A combination of these signs should be a red flag when identifying a compulsive gambler. But remember, none of these signs mention the amount of times a person gambles in a period of time. It’s not about “quantity.” A person can gamble every day and it may not affect his life. Also, gambling addiction isn’t OK if you’re wealthy; rich gamblers can still have issues like neglecting their loved ones and other vital responsibilities.

Florida is well-known for its casinos, entertainment arenas and cruise ship gambling. But environmental factors such as these may cause people to be more susceptible to the development of gambling addiction. Gambling addiction isn’t a problem that stands alone-it may lead to criminal behavior, psychological distress and depression, and fuel other more dangerous addictions. As stated earlier, a person may fall into drug or alcohol addiction in order to supplement or replace their gambling behavior. The combination of multiple addictions can be devastating and more difficult to treat; it would be like tangling a web of loose strings and trying to unravel them all at once.

Addiction specialists and counselors use a variety of methods in treating gambling addiction effectively, including: helping the addict understand what drives him or her to gamble, replacing their betting habits with more productive activities, understanding how it affects the people they care about, and finally, strengthening one’s will to live a more productive lifestyle. If you notice warning signs that you or your loved one is suffering from gambling addiction, it is crucial to intervene and find treatment before it is too late. Doctors treat gambling addiction as a serious brain disease, and people suffering from it are also prone to drug addiction. The importance of acquiring immediate treatment can be the difference between losing everything, and saving someone’s life.

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Gambling Addiction: How Is It Different From Other Addictions

The word “Addiction” is characterized by many people as being a negative compulsion. A person with an addiction is unable to stop doing the thing they are addicted to.

Not all addictions are the same, and even though we are focusing more on gambling addiction, we also want to touch on other addictions that can overtake a person’s life.

What Are The Different Type of Addictions?

There are basically three categories for addictions:

1. Substance
2. Impulse/Emotional
3. Behavioral

Most people relate substance addiction to drugs, but it can also be related to: alcohol, tobacco, prescription drugs, and inhalants.

Impulsive/emotional types include: gambling, stealing, and pyromaniacs (setting fires).

Behavioral types include: eating, shopping, pornography, working, and perfectionism.

The one thing all of these addictions have in common is – control. A person with an addiction, gambling or otherwise, is in bondage to their addiction. The crazy thing about this problem is – they don’t overlap most times. A person addicted to gambling will not have any desire to set fires and a pyromaniac won’t be tempted to gamble.

Taking a Closer Look at Gambling Addiction

There’s a distinct difference between a gambling and substance addiction. Gambling is triggered at an emotional level and substance addictions are craving some type of chemical relief.

The gambling atmosphere is all about “emotions” and “excitement” but alcohol, smoking, stress, anxiety, and many other vices are all part of the casino experience. This is one instance where the initial addiction can lead a person into multiple other addictions.

Casinos spend millions of dollars each year studying the habits of gamblers. Gambling is different from other addictions because of money. Money is the fuel for gambling and the emotional rush comes from having your money on the line.

Slot machines are designed so that the colors and sounds attract people to play; at that point money loses its value. The tables convert cash into chips. By doing this the player loses their sense of value for money; the casino knows exactly what they are doing.

Pathological gambling destroys relationships, it devastates finances, and it can even cause a person to commit suicide. So, what can cause a person to become a gambling addict?

Since gambling is categorized as an emotional/impulsive addiction, we have to look at other emotions that can trigger it. The experts have listed a few:

- Anxiety
- Depression
- Stress (work/family)
- Personal Loss
- Debt

We also have to include the “beginners luck” syndrome. There’s a natural attraction to easy money and lotteries are one example of this fact. The multimillion dollar lottery pools are a reflection of the hope of getting rich, and this is what drives a person to the point of becoming a gambling addict.

When gambling becomes an addiction it goes beyond just winning, it’s more about just playing. People who are addicted can be winning thousands of dollars and not quit, why?

The reason is – love. The love of gambling. The phase of losing and desperation comes next, and this is when the addiction can turn into a monster. Fortunately there is help, and there are help centers waiting to help.

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