Gambling Addiction: Know the Warning Signs and How to Get Help

By The Care Centers. Posted on Fri Feb 19 2016

People gamble all the time, and it seems harmless. For most people, buying a lottery ticket or going a few rounds at a Black Jack table on a trip to Vegas will be the beginning and end of their gambling, but that’s not the case for someone with a gambling addiction. Gambling addiction and problem gambling can have major negative impacts on your life, your work, your finances, and your family, but how can you tell if you have a gambling problem?

You Hide Your Gambling from Friends and Family
If you have a problem with gambling, on some level you probably know it, even if you don’t want to admit it to yourself and others. Because some part of you knows that you have a gambling addiction, you hide this kind of behavior from people who care about you and might try to stop you.

Your Friends and Family Have Expressed Concern About Your Gambling
Problem gamblers often hide their gambling precisely because family and friends have expressed concern about it. If the people close to you have asked you to stop gambling or have expressed concern that you might have a problem with gambling, this is a major indicator that your problem has gone farther than you can admit to yourself or others.

Once You Start, You Can’t Stop Gambling
Do you have trouble walking away from a bet? Once you take that bet, whether you win or lose, do you find yourself making another one? Do you keep betting until you’re down to your very last dollar? Continuing to take risky gambles over and over again to try to win back lost money is indicative of a problem.

You Gamble With Money You Don’t Have
Gambling addicts often convince themselves that they’ve found a “sure thing” and that there’s no way they can lose. As a result, they will often place bets with money that they don’t have or can’t afford to lose. If you find yourself engaging in this kind of high-risk behavior, then you almost definitely have a gambling problem.

Gamblers Anonymous and Other Support Groups
Based on the same 12-step program as Alcoholics Anonymous, Gamblers Anonymous was formed to help people with gambling problems come together and support each other through recovery. Joining a support group like this is free, and you’ll have help keeping yourself accountable when you choose a sponsor and attend meetings regularly.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy
For some gambling addicts, a support group is not enough to really get to the underlying problems that they use gambling to cope with. Through one of The Care Centers’ mental health centers, you can find a therapist who will work with you to uncover your problems and change your behavior to deal with them in a more productive way. With this kind of help, most gambling addicts learn better coping mechanisms and are able to recover and live productive, happy lives.

Tags: Mental Health