Introduction to Gambling Addiction Problem
It has been said, time and again, that too much of something is poisonous. This phrase only begins to define what gambling addiction is. Besides spending too much time, money, and resources in gambling, you will find that those with a problem often compromise on crucial areas of their lives to indulge. This ends up costing them relationships, jobs, and opportunities.
This article focuses on defining gambling addiction as it pertains to its effects on an individual’s life, and by extension, those they associate with. Here, we highlight things you can do to avoid falling into addiction, how to identify it. Most importantly, this article explores avenues and methods you can incorporate into your healing process.
Responsible gaming is the responsibility of all players. This is one of the most crucial concepts that gamblers should understand as it reflects directly on their relationship with the activity. It is easy to get lost in the fun, relief, and entertainment that gambling offers, and you might not notice the extremities. The best way to avoid addiction is to be proactive. Here are some methods that have been proven to work;
1. Defining a budget
Gambling is a leisure activity, and everyone deserves a few of those. Your expenditure budget should feature how much you can spend on leisure, in terms of money, time, and resources, and what percentage goes to gambling. This way, you do not have to stop playing, but you can pace yourself according to the budget.
2. Keep tabs
Defining how much you are willing to spend on gambling is only useful if you follow through with it. Thus, you should continuously check in on your progress and adherence to the set standards. Take time to go through your deposits and track how much time you spend gambling.
3. Set reminders
If you need active reminders of your resolution to cut down on your gambling, create some. You can use alarms to get you out of the game and back to reality.
4. Take a breather
Look at it as a vacation from the gambling world. This will change your viewpoint on the break. Taking a breather from gambling can be difficult for some people, but necessary. As such, you need to determine whether you can see it through by yourself or you need some help.
The gambling industry provides resources that allow you to exempt yourself from all play and access to online casinos for a predetermined period. You can use these or ask a friend to help you with accountability.
Addiction creeps upon you, and most people don’t notice it until it’s too late. If you find yourself questioning how much you are gambling, your concern is valid. You are likely to freak out at this realization, and rightfully so because addiction is scary. Before you jump to conclusions, there is a need to confirm your suspicions. Here are some questions you can ask yourself:
- How do you feel about the prospect of quitting? Is there reluctance? Do you think you will be okay without gambling?
- Have you ever tried stopping? How did that go?
- Do you ever abandon other responsibilities to gamble?
- When do you gamble the most? What is your state of mind in those moments?
- Have you ever lied to people you love so you can gamble?
- Do you spend more than you intend to on gambling? Has this led to borrowing and falling in debt?
- Is there an urge to recover the money you lose by playing more?
- Are there moments when gambling doesn’t offer the excitement, relief, and satisfaction you need it to? Has this caused you to increase the time and money you spend gambling?
- Do you share your gambling experiences, both losses and wins, with loved ones? If not, what drives you to this need for privacy in this particular area of your life?
- Does gambling affect your moods? If yes, what effect does this have on your performance in tasks, both at work and at home?
- How would you define what gambling means to you? Is it a fun activity or a distraction from other problems?
- Have you ever sacrificed an essential expense to gamble? How did you feel about that?
These questions offer a starting point for determining whether you are addicted to gambling or not. Often, the answers lead to more answers, and they might lead to more questions. As such, you should consider answering them in writing. This way, it is easy to reevaluate when you feel like you are spiraling.
Also, writing your responses shows you how much understanding you have about your situation, which can be great at re-establishing control. The answers you give form a guideline on the problem, how it needs to be addressed, and how to start.
There are online quizzes such as the ‘Concerned about your gambling quiz’. Most are anonymous, meaning you can be honest without fear of exposure. This particular quiz comprises of 9 questions that focus on the financial, mental, emotional, and physical repercussions of gambling. Other than suggesting whether you are addicted or not, these quizzes lead to helplines that you can use to take a step towards healing.
Healing from any form of addiction is an intentional process that requires constant recommitment. Therefore, if you have ever tried quitting without getting the results you wanted, it doesn’t mean you failed. Take time to determine the best avenue to use for your specific needs and commit to it as many times as you need to.
Your options vary depending on access, how vulnerable you want to be, and to whom. Some people find it hard to talk to those they know about addiction, and they opt to have such conversations with strangers. This is informed by the fear of possible judgment.
The good thing is that there are various options, both online and offline, that offer confidentiality, and you can be honest about the problem. These include;
Internet platforms such as Bettors Anonymous and Gamblers anonymous offer resources and tools to help you walk the healing journey. This is one of the many sites that give you access to information on local meetings, essential tools for the 12-step program, and what your addiction means to you and those you love.
Anonymous groups give the chance to be vulnerable, which is a crucial part of getting over any addiction. In them, gamblers express their greatest fears, hopes, dreams. These spaces allow you to speak anything you want, when you want, without uncomfortable prompting or unnecessary input.
Besides anonymity, helplines are free, and they can be a place where you speak your mind or learn more about what you are going through. BeGambleAware is one such resource, and it provides not only extensive information on gambling but also a listening ear at the end of the line in case you need to voice some things.
Talking to a therapist might feel like exposing yourself and letting someone see the parts you don’t like, but it is part of the process. They guide you towards discovering why you are addicted to gambling. This process involves unpacking some of the responses you wrote down and defining how best you can deal with it.
Most times, gambling addictions indicate other problems, and facing them is a great way to fight the addiction. Gambling therapy addresses both the addiction and the causative factors. This way, when you heal, you have a better chance of staying in a good place for longer.
Family and friends
The people who love you, those you trust, know you best and are a crucial part of getting over your gambling addiction. You might have seen family and friends having interventions for those they love, and while this is meant for good, it can feel intrusive.
Look for a couple of people who make you feel comfortable enough, to be honest. Vulnerability and openness are foundational elements of healing from addiction.
Gambling addiction is a disease like any other, and it requires the right treatment. This, as a global understanding, has led to the provision of resources, both internationally and locally, to help everyone struggling with it.
Websites such as Substance Abuse and Mental Services Health Administration (SAMSHA) offer services in multiple languages to ensure that anyone who needs help receives it in the highest possible quality. They also provide a carefully crafted list of resources that you can use when dealing with gambling addiction.
There’s this unspoken need to hide the addiction from the world around you. This often leaves you moving in circles where you quit for a while, and when you get back. This approach is dangerous because whenever you manage to stay away from gaming, you will likely overindulge if you go back. In turn, this makes the next attempt to quit harder.
Gambling addiction is a heavy burden, and no one should go through it alone. If you are concerned about your gaming, there are resources to help you through all steps of dealing and healing from it. Getting help allows you to understand the extent of the issue and develop a custom solution based on your needs.