Compulsive Gambling Addiction
Gambling addiction otherwise known as compulsive gambling or even pathological gambling is a kind of impulse control disorder. Most people affected with this condition cannot get rid of the burning urge to gamble, even when doing so might adversely affect themselves, loved ones or even close associates. In most cases the entire life of a compulsive gambler usually revolves on this unrelenting impulse for gambling, no matter what financial condition they might be in. They continue to gamble whether or not they have the prerequisite money, whether or not they are depressed or in good spirits. In some cases some gambling addicts, even when they fathom the high stakes against them, cannot stop gambling.
On the other hand, some people that suffer from compulsive gambling can still have this disorder, without totally losing control, which makes it hard for persons around them to notice their addiction. The sad fact about gambling addiction is that it can totally disrupt your life, and functionality as a normal person. If you might be overly engrossed with gambling or getting the money to do so, or spending most of your time and money on gambling, you certainly have this problem. A lot has been said concerning pathological gambling, and here are some facts and myths that are commonly attributed to this disorder.
Myths and Facts
- Myth: Thinking that to be a problem gambler one has to gamble daily.
- Fact: Problem gamblers might gamble both incessantly or sporadically. Gambling is only a problem if it induces other serious complications.
- Myth: Gambling is not a problem if you can well afford it.
- Fact: Most of the problems attributed to compulsive gambling are not only financial. Gambling addiction can lead to relationship problems, and most often than not, results in losing intimate friendships, and connections.
- Myth: Most gambling addict’s spouses often drive them to compulsive gambling.
- Fact: Most people affected by this disorder usually rationalize their untoward behavior, and often blame other people, as they never want to take responsibility for their actions.
- Myth: If a gambling addict accrues huge debts it’s your responsibility to assist them financially.
- Fact: Quick fixes might seem the best thing to do if you are caught up in such situations, but in reality they only magnify the problem.
Gambling Addiction Statistics
Here are some gambling addiction statistics that can portray just how serious this disorder can be.
- It is estimated that of all the persons that engage in gambling, 2% – 5% of them are diagnosed with this disorder, which naturally encompasses millions of people in the US alone.
- Despite the usual presumption that more men than women suffer from compulsive gambling, women have also been found to develop this disorder at an extremely rapid rate. And currently make up 25% of all individuals diagnosed with pathological gambling.
- It has also been established that men are more prone in developing gambling addiction at a much earlier period of life than women, which is most during their early teens.
- Pathological gambling has also been found to escalate more rapidly in women than in men.
With these shocking gambling addiction statistics it is clear that urgent steps need to be taken if the society can curb this menace, that not only causes financial problems, but also wrecks havoc to relationships.
It has also been found that gambling addiction mostly stems from emotional disturbances like stress, loneliness, depression, anxiety and even fear. Most compulsive gamblers turn to this lifestyle as they feel it is a good and exciting diversion to the internal problems that they might be facing.
However, most experts state that the best way to quell this menace is usually by introducing addicts to better means of getting rid of such underlying emotions. For instance, if a gambling addict were to turn to other diversions such as working out, spending quality time with family and friends, meditation or even picking up new hobbies, the urge to gamble can quickly dissipate.
The fundamental factor in curbing pathological gambling is for the addict to pinpoint a better alternative lifestyle, which can make them cope with these problems without feeling the need to gamble. However, one vital thing to take note of, even when one conquers gambling addiction, these underlying emotions will still manifest. And it is imperative for a person suffering from this problem and wants help, to reflect on an alternative mode of combating these challenges that generally induce compulsive gambling.
Signs and Symptoms of a Pathological Gambling Addiction
Most experts tag gambling addiction as the “hidden illness”, which is largely due to the fact that this disorder does not manifest outward physical symptoms such as those that can be witnessed in alcohol and drug addiction. And what makes it a serious malady is usually how the patient denies or downplays the extent of their particular problem.
Such persons also go out of their way to conceal their gambling difficulties, which normally leads them to emotionally and physically detach themselves from the people that matter most in their lives. And most of them often sneak around, and tell lies when pressured to give an account of where they have been or how and with whom they have been spending their time.
Some of the most common symptoms and signs of gambling addiction disorder include:
- Feeling the urge to be secretive concerning the details of your gambling
- Having problems in regulating your gambling.
- Gambling even when you are financially strapped. This is especially a notorious symptom of full blown compulsive addiction. In which after an affected person finishes all the ready money that he/she had on him. Now turns to money that he might have allocated to meet his/her bills, using his/ her credit cards. Feeling the urge to borrow, or in some extreme cases sell his/her belongings , or even result to stealing, just to get more money to fuel his gambling endeavours.
- When family, friends or even close associates start become concerned about an addict’s change of behavior. This is because most pathological gamblers are usually in denial, which makes the problem much more difficult to solve. However, if you have found yourself in such situations it always pays to pay attention to your loved ones, and naturally acknowledge that you really do need some assistance.
Treatment of Pathological Gambling
Unlike what most people think each gambling problem is unique, and there is no one size fits all formula to solve gambling addiction. Hence this usually necessitates a distinct recovery program that is suited to that particular compulsive gambler in question. As what might work for others, might not necessarily work for you.
However, the pivotal step in getting gambling addiction help is for the gambling addict to acknowledge that he/she really has a gambling problem. And it normally, requires a lot of courage, and inner strength to face this grim fact. An addict should never lose hope or try to “tough it out” on their own. Conquering pathological gambling is never simple, but recovery is very much possible, if a compulsive gambler sticks to the treatment plan, and when he/she is not afraid to ask for support from the people around him/her.
One of the most efficient gambling addiction treatment happens to be gamblers anonymous which is a 12 step program that resembles alcoholic anonymous or even narcotic anonymous. This programs brings about many gamblers who share their experiences and challenges they face, and the more experienced offer tips and advise on the best ways of combating compulsive gambling.
Addicts that follow this step are also exposed to real life stories of just how some people have conquered pathological gambling. On the other hand, an addict is also exposed to vital resources like online gambling addiction articles that can assist them in moving forward to conquer their gambling issues. One key factor in gamblers anonymous is for a compulsive addict to choose a sponsor. This is ideally a former gambling addict that has the time, and most importantly the prerequisite experience in fighting off gambling addiction. And can most definitely offer vital guidance and support to a recovering addict.
Gambling Addiction Therapy
This is a kind of therapy that predominantly dwells on altering a compulsive gambler’s unhealthy behavior and thinking pattern, such as the aforementioned rationalization and harboring false beliefs. It also elaborates to a gambling addict the effective ways of conquering their seemingly uncontrollable gambling impulses. Whilst also showing them the appropriate methods of dealing with emotional disturbances, without turning back to their gambling ways.
Additionally, it assists compulsive gamblers in solving the financial, vocational, and even relationship difficulties, which are normally attributed to compulsive gambling. The chief aim of cognitive behavioral therapy is to gradually transform the gambling addict’s mentality by making him/her view gambling in a new light.
There also happens to be a variant of this therapy that is known as the four step program, that has been over and over again utilized to deal with compulsive gambling. And its primary aim is to alter a gambling addict’s thinking and belief system concerning gambling in four concise steps which are; re-label, re-attribute, refocus, and revalue. Unlike what most people who might be suffering from this disorder think about therapy, consulting a competent and experienced therapist never connotes that they might be weak. Or cannot handle their issues.
The opposite is in fact the case; seeking therapy gives you a positive chance to combat your gambling addiction problems. As these therapists have undergone the necessary training and have accrued a lot of experience in helping compulsive addicts fight their problems, and ultimately conquer them altogether. Additionally, these professionals can offer to people that might be trying to combat compulsive gambling, the right tools and much more to the point, the necessary support to rewire their thoughts to more positive thinking which can last throughout their lifetime.
Maintaining a Gambling Addiction Recovery
As most gambling addicts have found out the hard way, stopping gambling is relatively easy, the real problems often arise in making a compulsive gambler maintain his/her recovery. This takes a lot of patience, strength and courage as there are often many factors that can lure you back to your old gambling ways.
The key factor to reflect on is that this is totally attainable and if you really have the desire to change your old ways, the sky is usually the limit. One good way of maintaining your recovery is normally to surround yourself with people that do care about you. Forget all your gambling friends, and learn to be accountable to this particular set of people. This does not necessarily mean that you should have people constantly monitoring each and every one of your actions.
In fact the opposite is quite the case. These people are there to help you face your fears, and impulses to relapse to your compulsive gambling, and also pay an attentive ear to your concerns. Whilst advising on the right course of action to help you fight your gambling problems.
On the other hand, it is extremely important to avoid going to your old gambling hangouts. Most of the gambling addicts that have relapsed on their recovery has usually been because of not avoiding temptations to go to areas where they might have be prone to going back to their old gambling ways.
Therefore casinos are definitely a no go zone for recovering addicts that are serious about reforming.
Additionally, it will infinitely be extremely helpful if you give up the total control of your finances to your spouse, or a trusted friend if you are not married. This is a surefire arrangement that will guarantee the your not relapsing. As the temptation to revert to your old ways will be taken from you.
Finally, it might be a great help to turn your minds to other positive and pleasurable ways of spending your leisure time. This can mean picking up new hobbies, making new friends, and generally finding the right diversions that will keep you from thinking of gambling. There are many other elements where this topic is concerned and getting a good understanding begins with looking at all the facts. Those who suffer can recover in time. There is no reason to suffer in silence when there is a lot of help available.
The following are vital links that can help in your quest to conquer compulsive gambling.