Although gambling and sports betting are some of the favorite ways of entertainment for many people, the fact of the matter is that there’s quite a stigma around it. This is mostly due to the fact that, although entertaining, both of these activities can sometimes cause serious problems.
Gambling addiction is one of the most serious forms of addictions that, although not necessarily causing serious health issues, can really ruin a person’s life.
Just like many other addicts, gambling addicts are also known to indulge in their addiction in secrecy. Additionally, they’re known to lie, cheat and even steal to feed into their addiction.
That’s why it’s of extreme importance to learn how to recognize such behavior and take proper action to remedy it. Here are just a few tips on how to notice and prevent problematic behavior, such as gambling addiction.
Signs and symptoms of problem gambling
Gambling addiction, also commonly referred to as “hidden illness” is a serious problem that’s been on a steady rise since 2020. The reason it’s often called this is due to the fact that, unlike indulging in some other addictive behavior – such as using drugs or alcohol, gambling addiction doesn’t leave any obvious physical signs. And since gambling addicts follow similar patters of behavior like other addicts, being able to notice and identify that there, in fact, is a problem that needs to be dealt with can sometimes be quite difficult.
That being said, there are a few ways you can determine if you or someone you know suffers from gambling addiction.
Gambling in secrecy
The first sign of any addiction is the fact that the person indulging in it usually tends to do it in secrecy. So, if you found yourself indulging in gambling “when no one’s looking”, do know that such behavior may be the first sign that you need help. Individuals who gamble in secret or feel the need to lie to others about the amount of time they spend gambling have usually already started developing addictive behavior.
Gambling habits that feel out of control
Just like an alcoholic simply can’t resist a drink, an addicted gambler simply can’t stop gambling. Therefore, if you find yourself simply unable to walk away from gambling or can’t stop doing so until you spend your last cent, you should really seek help. The same goes if you notice a loved one or a family member displaying such behavior.
Luckily, there are plenty of resources and useful gambling addiction books available nowadays that can help you understand this addiction better and offer advice on how to approach it.
Even though gambling until you spend the last dollar you have is certainly bad, continuing to gamble after that is even worse. Many gambling addicts oftentimes resort to stealing money from their friends or family, or even borrowing money they realistically have no way of returning. Needless to say, such behavior is not only bad but it can even be extremely dangerous and detrimental.
Help with problem gambling
As mentioned previously, developing a gambling addiction can be as problematic as any other addiction. And since we are now able to really notice a surge in such problematic behavior, it’s important that we understand and identify various ways we can seek help.
If approached correctly and in a timely manner, all problems can be solved or at least remedied in some capacity. So, if you or your loved ones notice that you’ve developed such a problematic behavior, here’s what you should do to try and fix it before it gets out of hand.
Learn how to deal with stress in a healthy way
The majority of addictions serve the purpose of helping the addict find escape from some of their everyday problems. Usually, addicts will claim that their addictions seemingly helped them soothe unpleasant emotions or relieve stress. However, there are many different ways you can achieve the same goal without partaking in any dangerous or harmful behavior. So, if you notice that you rely on gambling as a means to escape your issues, you’ll need to learn how to deal with your problems is a healthier way.
Having proper support will be crucial when dealing with any type of addiction, gambling addiction included. Without the right support system in place, battling the addiction will be extremely difficult – if not impossible. So, make sure you talk to your friends and family and see if they are willing to join and support you on your journey to recovery.
Look for support groups
If you can’t seem to find any support in your immediate surrounding, do know that there are plenty of support groups that can easily offer the same. Some people even find it easier to share their problems and ask for help from complete strangers, rather than the people from their surroundings. Additionally, many addicts easily relate to other addicts, as all of them have more or less went down the similar road. So, if you too don’t feel comfortable talking to your friends or family, or you feel like they don’t really understand your problem, make sure you look for a support group you can join.
Seek professional help
No matter the type of issue you’re experiencing, seeking professional medical help is never a bad idea. Needless to say, this applies to gambling addiction as well. Trained professionals dealing in such matters will know how to best approach the issue, as well as which types of remedy to offer.
Should gambling be avoided?
Finally, a major question poses itself: “Should gambling be avoided or banned altogether?” and the answer is “No”. There are numerous behaviors and substances that, if approached, practiced and consumed responsibly won’t lead to any serious issues. Instead of avoiding and banning something that some people may develop an unhealthy relationship with, we should all focus on raising more awareness about the potential issues, work on destigmatizing discussing those issues and put special emphasis on reasonable and responsible behavior.