Gambling goes way back. This past time has been a form of entertainment for the European elite, Romans, Greeks and Assyrians. When carried out in a responsible manner, gambling can be fun. However, for some it becomes an addictive habit which is hard to break without the help of a gambling treatment program. Numerous outcomes can occur when a person is unable to control their gambling; therefore, it is important to be able to recognize this harmful pattern before problems occur.
What defines a gambling addiction?
A gambling addiction, otherwise known as compulsive gambling, is considered by experts to be what’s called an “impulse-control” disorder. This means that the person will gamble no matter what the outcome could be. Whether winning, losing, happy or depressed, the gambler will continue to make bets.
There are different types of gambling. These include online casinos, land based casinos, horse racing, sports betting, the lottery and the stock market. Some compulsive gamblers will have one preferred method while others will make bets on anything.
Signs of a Gambling Addiction
Signs of a gambling problem are similar to other addictions; however, they can be more subtle or even go unnoticed for a long period of time. Some common signs include:
- Gambling with money that should be used for necessities (i.e. food and rent)
- Inability to control gambling/spending habits
- Feeling the need to be secretive about gambling
- Friends and family are expressing a concern
- Financial woes, job loss and legal troubles have occurred
Compulsive Gambling and other Substance Addictions
In many cases, a problem gambler will have a co-occurring addiction. Most often this is alcohol, marijuana or cocaine. These may be the drugs of choice because they provide energy or relaxation. Moreover, alcohol is often free at land based casinos. In the case of a person gambling at these establishments, the likelihood of consuming these drinks on a regular basis is high. In addition, overtime a problem gambler may be stressed out, have high anxiety or depression. As a result, they turn to these substances to escape troublesome emotions.
Physical and Psychological Effects of Gambling Abuse
There are not many physical effects which can be directly attributed to gambling addictions. However, when a person develops depression or anxiety from gambling too much, they may become deprived from sleep. This can result in pale skin, dark eye circles, weight gain, weight loss, acne, lowered immunity and hair loss.
It is the psychological effects of a gambling addiction that are quite serious. These alone should be a reason to seek the help and support of a treatment program for gambling. Excessive gambling can lead to a plethora of emotional problems. These can range from anxiety, stress, depression and anger to self harm and suicidal thoughts. These may arise because losing everything can be detrimental and will leave the person feeling hopeless and alone.
Suicide amongst Problem Gamblers
People with an addiction to gambling (and have not received treatment) have a very high risk of attempting suicide; this especially occurs when they are in a “desperation phase”. It is very important to take any thought or mention of suicide very seriously. Whether it is you or a loved one, if suicide is being contemplated please call a suicide helpline, medical doctor, therapist or rehab centre immediately.
Seeking the Support of a Gambling Addiction Rehab Center
Compulsive gambling is 100% psychological; therefore the initial quitting is relatively easy. However, being able to commit to not gambling becomes the primary challenge. With adequate treatment, gambling addiction can be managed. Unlike other addictions, such as food, a gambling addict does not need to gamble in order to survive. Rather, they need to taught tools and techniques which will help them to find a healthy balance between money and living.
A residential rehab facility for gambling can be a great start. This is especially beneficial when the individual is unable to avoid land based casinos or online gambling rooms. Rehabs for gambling addictions will take an integrative approach which meets the individual’s needs. A gambling treatment centre will help a person to control the urges to gamble while identifying and replacing unhealthy and irrational beliefs. If there is any associated depression, anxiety or feelings of self worth, therapy, group talks and yoga can help the person resolve these issues and feel better about life.
If you or someone you know has an addiction to gambling and is ready to seek the expertise and support of a treatment centre, consider Serenity Rehab. As a private residential rehab catering to men and women with compulsive gambling disorders and substance addictions Serenity Rehab has been privileged to help hundreds of people from around the globe. Please contact us today for more information on our compulsive gambling treatment program.