Educate Yourself about the Nature of Gambling Addiction
Most people are able to enjoy gambling as a fun form of recreation that does not infringe on their ability to live healthy lives. Unfortunately though, there are those for whom the prospect of winning life-changing amounts of money can become a dangerous gambling addiction.
Gambling addiction is a serious problem faced by many people worldwide and can wreak havoc on personal relationships, cause financial ruin, and sometimes even leads to debilitating depression and suicide. No jackpot is worth that kind of sacrifice.
As with all addictive behaviours, the first step to recovering from gambling addiction is admitting that you have a problem. After that, the road to recovery is long and painful but still possible. So stop making excuses for yourself or your loved one and start focusing on how to get your life back on track.
Know the Signs of Gambling Addiction
If you are worried that your own gambling habit has gotten out of control, you need to ask yourself some tough questions:
Do I feel like I need to be secretive about my gambling? Do I keep gambling even when I don’t have the money? Do I have trouble controlling my gambling? Are my friends and family concerned about me? Do I get defensive when people question me about my gambling habits?
If you answered “yes” any of these questions, then it is quite likely that you have gambling addiction or, at the very least, are a problem gambler. Once you’re ready to admit that to yourself and others, you’ll be ready to move towards recovery. Also note that problem gamblers don’t necessarily gamble every day. The saying goes that gambling is a problem if it causes problems.
If it’s a loved one you’re concerned about, be on the lookout for the following symptoms: increasing defensiveness about his or her gambling habits, secrecy over financial matters, money or valuable items that mysteriously go missing, social withdrawal, increasingly desperate measures to obtain money including threats, manipulation and begging.
If your loved one displays any of these symptoms, it’s very possible that they have a gambling addiction and it’s important to try to assist them to get the help they need as soon as possible.
Learn How to Treat Gambling Addiction
The most important thing is not to try to go it alone. Be honest with your friends and family about your gambling addiction. However, your gambling addiction is your problem, not theirs. So resist the urge to blame them or expect them to solve your problem for you.
Seek out the services of a therapist and join Gamblers Anonymous. Some fundamental measures you can take include: getting rid of all credit cards and temporarily handing control of your finances over to someone you trust; filling up your time with alternative leisure activities like exercising, family outings and so forth; and avoiding situations where you may be tempted to gamble.
You can also inform local casinos and sportsbooks about your gambling addiction and asking them to bar you from playing there. Top online casinos and sportsbooks also allow you block yourself from playing or set betting limits.
If your loved one has a gambling addiction, know this: you cannot make them give up gambling. Only they can make this decision. Your role is to support them without enabling them. Understand when they slip up – because they definitely will – but don’t make excuses for them or loan them money.
The good news is that it is possible to recover from gambling addiction. Begin to get your life back starting right now.