Gambling challenges can happen to anyone, whether you are rich, poor, a successful person or a failure in life; gambling addiction can take over any person. Unrecognised gambling habits can lead to severe issues. Generally speaking, gambling addiction can be described as an activity whereby an individual cannot resist their inner urges to gamble, leading to severe adverse effects on one’s personal and social life.
A bad gambling habit can start from being a fun or harmless way of entertainment to an unpleasant obsession with severe consequences in life. Whether betting on sports or slots, at top online casinos, a bad gambling habit can impact one’s work and personal and social relationships leading to a financial meltdown. Uncontrolled gambling can make a person do things not even imagined, like accumulating huge debts or even stealing money to satisfy the gambling habit. At the end of the day, excessive gambling can get the person in trouble with law enforcement, court action, and possibly prison time.
How a gambling addiction is formed
An impulsive gambler cannot control the urge to gamble even when the person is aware that it will have a negative result for him and his family. They will gamble whether up or down, broke or flush, and keep gambling irrespective of the result. Impulsiveness will push the gambler to continue gambling even when knowing that they cannot afford to lose.
A person can also have a gambling problem without being entirely out of control. A gambling problem becomes a predicament when it commences disrupting one’s life. Suppose a person is constantly thinking of gambling, spending more and more money on it, chasing losses or insisting on continuing to gamble when knowing that it can have profound consequences. In that case, the gambler has a big gambling challenge.
How can gambling affect your overall life negatively?
Uncontrolled gambling can be associated with other mood disorders and personal behaviour. There are instances where gamblers are also facing difficulties with substance abuse issues, stress and depression, anxiety or even bipolar disorder. If this should be the case, it is imperative to address the underlying problem before addressing the gambling habit.
At times, a person can feel overwhelmed and powerless to face and stop the gambling habit, which could be surmounted with professional help and self-imposed resilience. There are different paths to follow to address the gambling problem, mend relationships, rebuild the financial situation, and structure your life.
What is bad gambling?
What defines a bad gambler? There are several issues that helps to answer this question, some of which include:
- Gambling becomes a problem when it causes problems.
- Too much gambling can create financial issues. It also leads a person to spend much time on gambling and shattering relationships, legal problems, loss of jobs, mental health challenges, and sometimes suicide.
- Irrespective of whether a person is successful in life, intelligent or otherwise, strong-willed, uncontrolled gambling can creep up on any individual.
- Blaming other people for a bad habit will never work or solve the gambling problem.
- A quick fix by family members or close friends to bail out the gambler will probably make matters worse for the gambler.
Gambling addiction is an illness
Clinically, gambling addiction is sometimes referred to as a hidden illness. It is called so because there are no obvious physical signs or symptoms like drug abuse, alcohol addiction, hypertension, or heart problems. At times, problem gamblers try to minimize their bad habit to others and convince themselves that the problem does not exist.
Signs to hide the problem include gambling in secret with the hope of surprising the family and friends with a huge win. They believe that the gambling habit is under control or that they can walk away from the problem anytime. Moreover, people addicted to gambling play to the last penny and then move on to use other funds earmarked to pay household bills, credit cards or mortgages. They feel the urge or the necessity to sell things, borrow money or steal to entertain their gambling habit.
Denial will never help a gambling addiction
Denying that you have a gambling problem is not the solution. A gambler needs to listen to the worries of his family and friends. It is never a weakness to ask for help, whether professional help or guidance from family members. Mature gamblers may find it challenging to reach out to their children for help due to the embarrassment of being seen as a failure. These obstacles should never stop gamblers from reaching out for help and changing the situation for the better.
The first step toward addressing a bad gambling habit is recognising and accepting that you have a problem. This is easy as it takes a herculean effort and strength to deal with the problem. The situation becomes more precarious if the gambler has lost a lot of money and broken any close relationship along their gambling journey. It is never a lost cause or a desperate situation. Many others have been in the same predicament and managed to travel the dark tunnel towards better pastures. If others had the courage and will to regain control of their lives, you could also do it.
How to distract yourself from problematic gambling
If gambling has become a total to unwind after an argument, a stressful day of work, or just to beat boredom, there are plenty of other ways to relax. Going to the gym can help build a healthier life and socialize in a friendly environment; go for walks with family members or friends; rekindle an old hobby; participate in sports activities, or practise yoga or other relaxation techniques.
Reaching out to colleagues at work or joining a sports team is much better than making digital friends online. One can also take up an educational course which can serve as a tool to enhance your career—maybe doing volunteer work to procure the inner personal satisfaction of helping others in need.
In addition, you can try to join a Gamblers Anonymous Group. This is an effective instrument to initiate a path to recovery. A sponsor, a former gambler himself, having passed through the same experience and is now free from addiction, is an effective tool to address the gambling addiction. They can provide guidance and support to help you through the recovery process. Registering on sites like Gamstop or Be Gamble Aware will also help regulate your gambling.
Taking a decision, recognising that you have a problem, and taking action aimed at having a better quality of life for you and your family is of the utmost importance.