According to the National Center for Responsible wagering, approximately 1% of the adult population in the United States, ranging from young adults to seniors, has a severe wagering problem.
There is hope if you or a loved one struggle to control gambling behaviors.
The good news is that there are numerous online and offline resources and professionals available to assist you.
Recognizing a Problem with Gambling
Wikipedia defines problem gambling, also known as ludomania, as “repetitive gambling behavior despite harm and negative consequences.”
Although until recently it was considered a compulsion, the American Psychiatric Association has now added “gambling disorder” to its list of mental disorders, classifying it as an addiction with many similarities to alcohol or substance addiction.
Gambling activates the brain’s reward system, and it is this reward that we desire when we are unable to cut back despite financial losses or negative effects on our lives and those of our loved ones.
Signs Of A Gambling Disorder
How to identify a wagering addiction
The American Psychiatric Association has established several diagnostic criteria for wagering disorders. If you identify with any of the following attitudes or behaviors toward wagering, it is time to seek assistance:
You must wager increasing amounts of money to achieve the intended excitement.
You frequently ruminate on gambling-related topics, such as how to acquire additional funds or recalling past experiences.
You experience irritability if you attempt to reduce or quit wagering.
You have made multiple unsuccessful efforts to halt.
You frequently gamble while experiencing heightened emotions (such as anxiety, depression, or remorse).
You’re “chasing your losses”
You lie to conceal how much time or money you devote to wagering.
Your gambling has caused you to lose a relationship, an employment, or an opportunity.
If you believe that you have lost the ability to control your gambling impulses, there are many things you can do to improve. As with any addiction, the initial stage is to acknowledge that you have a problem, acknowledge that it is not your fault or something to be ashamed of, and acknowledge that you need assistance.
These are some measures you can take to regain your footing:
Read online materials. Numerous websites, such as GamblersAnonymous.org and BeGambleAware.org, offer actionable advice to help you control your gambling (including gambling blocking software, self-exclusion, limiting online gambling advertisements, etc.).
Join an aid community. It can be incredibly reassuring to converse with others who are experiencing the same issues. You will be able to create a network of people who understand your struggles and can offer advice on how they overcame them.
Seek expert assistance. Professionals in mental health who specialize in addiction will provide the necessary assistance. Non-profit organizations that address problem gambling frequently provide a list of psychologists, psychiatrists, and associations with expertise in gambling disorders.
Develop a new passion. A new hobby, whether it’s a musical instrument or a sport, can help you communicate with others and discover interests and motivation outside of gambling. If you frequently gamble as a form of relaxation, you should try meditation, yoga, or any other form of exercise.
Provide caring for a pet. Adopting a cat, a dog, or any other type of pet and caring for it can help you survive if you are feeling lonely or isolated. Underestimate not the positive impact a four-legged companion can have on your life!
It is essential to understand that there is hope. The majority of wagering addicts recover with the aid of their loved ones or through professional treatment. Check the list of resources that we have provided below.
Assisting A Loved One With A Gambling Addiction
Assisting a loved one with a gambling addiction
Gambling disorders impact not only the individual affected, but also their family and acquaintances. When a family member has a gambling problem, it can be extremely aggravating and distressing for their loved ones. For instance, these disorders frequently affect the financial situation of an entire family.
Joining a support group is also an excellent idea for family members who wish to assist a struggling loved one. Sharing your experiences with others going through similar circumstances can help you feel less isolated.
Experts in the field recommend the following if you are attempting to assist a loved one who is battling a gambling disorder.
Inform the gambler that their actions are influencing you or your family. Assist them in understanding that their actions have consequences.
Try not to let your wrath or frustration control you. Your loved one requires your assistance to recover.
Take charge of the household’s finances. Regularly review your bank statements and credit card expenses. Do not be hesitant to establish limits.
Don’t expect an instantaneous recovery and acknowledge your loved one’s efforts to recuperate.
Seek professional assistance or a support group if you are emotionally lost or struggling.
Staying Safe When Gambling Online
Even if you do not believe that you or your loved ones have a gambling problem, it may be helpful to review some of the tips on BeGambleAware.org to ensure that you gamble responsibly and safely.
They offer the following advice on how to avoid losing control of your wagering habits:
Establish a budget in advance
Determine beforehand how much money you will spend on gambling, and adhere to it. Don’t try to recover your losses.
Bet only what you can afford to lose
Consider it an entertainment expenditure (such as what you would spend on dining out or the movies), but do not gamble with your rent or food money.
Do not wager when feeling upset.
Your negative emotions may prevent you from making sound decisions. You should only gamble when you are cheerful and well-rested. Also, never consume alcohol or drugs while wagering.
Enjoy alternative forms of amusement
Balance your gambling with other enjoyable pursuits, such as sports, pastimes, and spending time with family. When wagering becomes your only source of amusement, it’s probably already a problem.
This advice is essential for having a safe and pleasurable online gambling experience. Make sure gambling remains a small portion of your methods to relax and have fun!