Gambling Addiction : Symptoms Causes and Treatment

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Side Effects

Gambling Addiction (Problem Gambling)

Gambling Addiction is also known by other names such as Problem Gambling, Compulsive Gambling or Gambling Disorder. It is a condition when you can't stop gambling even when you know that its hurting you and your closed ones. Gambling Addiction is not only related to gambling in Casinos, it can be betting on your favorite team, betting in card games with friends, and gambling online (the latest trend). There are some clear symptoms, causes and treatment to this problem. Mood Disorders and depression are clear indications of Gambling Addiction. Here we will discuss some of these things in detail.

Side Effects of Gambling Addiction

Side effects of Gambling Addiction are not like side effects of other diseases which are visible on our body. Side effects of Gambling are visible in our life and our relationships.

  • There is no need to gamble on daily basis to be a gambling addict. Just playing gamble is sufficient to be an addicts, if you are having the symptoms listed below.
  • Even if you can afford the gambling losses, you can still be in Gambling Addiction. Only financial loss is not to be worried about in gambling. The time you lose in gambling can cost a lot in your relationships.
  • Addict Gamblers often blame their friends that they drive them into gambling, but its just a way of not taking responsibility of their own actions.
  • Non-gambler friends often clear the debts of their Addict friend to help them out of the situation. But its not a right thing to do. It will make their addiction worst.

Symptoms of Gambling Addiction

There are some clear symptoms of Gambling Addiction. You can notice these symptoms in any addict gambler.

  • When you hide the facts from your family: If you have started to hide the truth about you gambling from your family, then it means that you are going towards the Addiction circle.
  • When you can't stop yourselves until to lose each dollar you have got: A healthy gambler will stop after losing upto a certain level, he will never spend every penny in his pocket in the hope to win the last game.
  • When you spend money you don't own: Addict Gamblers often play games with credit card money or taking money on interest from some lender. Its the beginning of worst phase of an addict gambler. People suffering from Gambling addiction often think in other way (taking themselves as positive thinker) that they will win and clear all debts very soon. Sometimes some adult gamblers suffering from addiction often spend the inheritance of their grown-up children. Sometime people spend the money for their home loan repayment, theirs kids school fee and the money for their monthly expenditure.
  • Mood Disorders and Depression: These symptoms usually remain unnoticed by an addict, but a closed one can easily notice them.

Causes of Gambling Addiction

Some of the causes of Gambling Addiction seems really foolish to healthy people but it happens.

  • Gambling Addiction starts from Gambling. A non gambler can't be a problem gambler.
  • People often start gambling as a way to kill some time or getting impressed from movies.
  • Sometimes too much positive attitude in gambling gives hope to win in the end.
  • Sometimes people think themselves of as an intelligent being and can't loosing makes them feel as a foolish person, and in the hope to show their intelligence they keep gambling.
  • Some people take win and loose on their ego. Their ego don't let them accept the defeat and they keep playing.
  • Some people find themselves as winner in the beginning and in the hope to win a big game they keep playing.
  • Some people gamble to give some excitement to their lives.
  • Some time the boredom also takes people to gamble.
  • The last but not least, some people gamble to solve their money problems. 

Treatment of Gambling Addiction

There are two types of treatment for Gambling Addiction. First is Personal Treatment and second in Professional Treatment. Professional treatment is meant for those where it can't be cured by personal treatment.

Personal Treatment of Gambling Addiction

  • Have company of family or friends: Isolation can very easily take you back to gambling. So try not to be isolated. Always spend your free time with your some friends or family.
  • Engage yourself: Don't let yourself be free or getting bored. Get engaged in some sports or gym. You may also spend your time in any hobby such as watching movies or reading novels or doing something creative.
  • Visualize yourself Loosing: Even after implementing last two steps if you feel an urge to gamble, then visualize yourself loosing a gamble and how you feel after you have lost everything in your pocket. It will discourage you from going for gamble.
  • Postpone: If you still feel the urge then tell yourself that you will go after sometime, and then keep postponing the gamble and engage in some other task.
  • Reduce Internet Usage: If you are online gambling addict then reducing the internet usage can also help you in keeping yourself away from it.

Professional Treatment of Gambling Addiction

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): This therapy specially focuses on gambling addicts by changing their thoughts and false beliefs.
  • The Four Steps Program: Four steps of this program are re-label, reattribute, refocus, and revalue.
  • Group Based Recovery Programs; Such programs have some patients who are going through the same process as you. It helps by sharing thoughts and motivating each other for giving up gambling.
  • Residential Treatment Centers: In such type of treatment you have to live like a hospitalized patient. In such centers you go through various therapies and never get a chance to play a gamble.
  • Luxury Gambling Addiction Facilities: These centers are just like the previous residential treatment centers apart from the fact that they are meant for those who can afford it. Here you get all therapies with the luxury of a good hotel or resort.
  • Executive Gambling Addiction Programs: Its for those who can't afford to live away from their work for weeks or months. Such programs are usually live weekend classes, where therapies are given only on weekends. 
  • Outpatient Gambling Rehab: Its just like OPD in a hospital, where you don't need to get admitted. Here you just need to visit on regular basis for some therapies. Sometimes after attending a residential rehab program you need to attend Outpatient Gambling Rehab for some weeks or months. It helps in monitoring your progress.

Gambling Addiction Helpline and Hotline

  • National Council on Problem Gambling, US: 1-800-522-4700
  • California Council on Problem Gambling: 1-800-Gambler (426-2537)
  • Gambling Helpline New Zealand: 0800 654 655, 8006 for texting
  • Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey (CCGNJ): 800-GAMBLER
  • National Council on Problem Gambling, Singapore: 1-800-666-8668

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