Gambling addiction may not be viewed in the same light as an addiction to drugs or alcohol, but it can be a very real problem that can lead to serious repercussions. Gambling addiction presents a unique problem because it appeals to a wide range of people by presenting the allure of easy money while, in reality, being a sinkhole that often consumes more money than the gambler wins.
Think about it – the gambling industry is a very successful industry. How could an industry like this thrive if the odds were always in your favor? Gambling is risky business – and that’s part of the thrill that some people find addictive.
This article will teach you about gambling addiction and how to treat it, as well as the signs and symptoms that could hint that you or your loved ones are becoming addicted to gambling.
Identifying a Gambling Addiction
When people think about gambling addictions, often the first thing that comes to mind is somebody sitting at a slot machine, pulling the crank over and over regardless of their winnings. While this is certainly a good indicator of a serious gambling problem, it’s important to know that gambling addictions aren’t restricted to in-house gambling.
People who habitually purchase lottery tickets, either the draws or the scratch cards, are just as liable to develop a gambling addiction. You’re putting money down on the hopes that you’ll win back more, and this can cause problems.
If you continually enter raffles to the point that it becomes a problem (missing meetings or social situations because you need to enter in a raffle), you could be developing a serious gambling addiction.
Some people are addicted to gambling in the sense that they continually hedge bets with their coworkers or friends. This is no less addictive than gambling in a casino.
Sometimes gambling addictions aren’t manifested in continuing to gamble at excessive frequency. Some people gamble less often but hedge much riskier bets because they enjoy the adrenaline rush, the emotional high that comes when you’re taking a serious risk and the hope that it will pay off properly.
What causes a gambling addiction?
There are quite a few reasons that a gambling addiction could develop in an average person.
The most common gambling addictions tend to arise when a person feels that they’re financially ruined or seriously desperate for cash. This causes them to think that the only way that they can fix their financial situation is to wager some of the little finances they have left in hopes that they’ll be able to turn them into something more.
It’s easy to see how this could turn into a vicious cycle. If the gambler loses, then they’ll have less money. If they’re lucky, they will opt out at this point – but many will take this as a sign that it’s even more vital that they gamble to try and fix the problem.
Continually trying to win back your losses leads to a cycle that will either lead to you going bankrupt or seeking treatment for your gambling addiction.
As we’ve mentioned, some people gamble more for the thrill of taking a serious risk than the actual process of gambling or the need to make money. These people are not really different than those who seek thrills in other ways, like with extreme sports.
Some people develop gambling addictions because of the social aspect that is associated with it. A successful gambler is often revered among his or her peers, especially in a casino, and some people develop gambling addictions in hopes of becoming a well-known, professional gambler.
Others simply enjoy the atmosphere of the gambling environment. A casino can be stimulating, entertaining, and a good place for people with like interests to socialize in.
The signs of a gambling addiction
The signs of a gambling addiction are pretty similar to those of other addictions.
- Being secretive about gambling
- Spending more money than intended on gambling
- Gambling despite financial problems
- Missing social meetings or work because of a need to gamble
- People expressing concern about your habits
The ultimate aspect of any addiction is a feeling that you can’t stop. Regardless of the problems that are being caused because of the addiction, if you’re powerless to stop yourself then you have a problem.
Treating gambling addiction
Treating a gambling addiction is quite similar to treating any other addiction. Many personal addiction therapists and consultants don’t just work to treat drug addictions – they work to treat something known as process addictions, one of which is gambling addiction. There are very effective holistic approaches used to treat those with a gambling addiction.
- Somatoemotional repatterning, or somatoemotional release, is a type of therapy that aims to identify the trauma or negativity that leads to addictive behavior and replace that (repattern it) with a much more beneficial behavior or emotional response.
- Auriculotherapy is a technique that’s similar to acupuncture. Instead of using needles, electrically charged wands stimulate certain neural pathways to help correct any neurological imbalances that might cause addiction.
If you think that you’re developing a gambling addiction, it’s important that you seek out help from a therapist or consultant who is willing to help you work through your process addiction.
Don’t live with addiction any longer. Call my office at (805) 644-0461 today for an appointment and let’s get started!