Gambling Addiction

Australia  is known as the gambling nation. With  up to 80 percent of young people participate in gambling.  Gambling starts with a little fun and can lead to become a serious problem. It can begin to affect you in many ways as well as your friends/work colleagues/family  and relationship. It can begin to cause severe relational, emotional and financial issues.  Its  stated that on average, one Australian teen in every high school class has an issue with gambling, which is quite sad, considering most people are not even 18 when they leave high school.

Quitting  a gambling addiction isn’t easy, and some people are not sure how to even do it, but there are a lot of support services available if you think you have a problem with it.

What is gambling?

A  gambling addiction isn’t always easy for someone to admit to, or even easy for someone to believe they are becoming addicted to gambling.  In  fact, people who have a problem with gambling often lie about their betting habits or try to hide them from others, for feeling ashamed and  embarrassed. If you’re worried that you, a family member or a friend might have a gambling addiction, there are a few common  things to look out for like; you think or talk about gambling all the time, you spend more money or time on gambling than you intend to, you gamble when you feel sad, anxious or distressed, you spend more and more money to get the same ‘kick’ or rush, you   bet more and more money to try and make up for past losses, you’ve repeatedly tried to stop or reduce your gambling without success, you become irritable or restless when you try to cut back on your gambling, gambling is having a negative effect on your relationships,  work or study, you rely on other people for money, because of your gambling losses or you feel depressed or are having suicidal thoughts. 

A  gambling addiction occurs when a person continues to gamble despite negative effects that may impact their finances, relationships, or well-being; A gambler tends to be aware that, in the long run, they are more likely to lose than win.” And losing could  actually, momentarily at least, boosting the positive response to a win. This is because of how gamblers’ expectations of winning change during a losing streak.

Why  do people gamble?

A  Gambling addiction can be inherited, it’s said that if one of your parents is addicted to gambling the odds up to 60%  that you will be as well by inheriting that addictive gene. As research has revealed. Many  people who gamble compulsively often have substance abuse problems, as well as smoking and often experience symptoms of  depression or anxiety.

Gambling  is also known as pathological gambling, compulsive gambling or gambling disorder which is an impulse-control disorder and if you’re a compulsive gambler, you can’t control the impulse to gamble, even when it has negative consequences for you or your loved ones.

There  is evidence that indicates that gambling activates the brain’s reward system in much the same way that a drug does and that they argue that people prone to addiction have an underactive brain reward system and that such people are drawn to ways to stimulate  their reward pathways, which can include the highs of drugs and gambling.

Problem  gambling is often associated with mental health problems, including depression, anxiety, and mood disorders. Gambling problems don’t just affect mental health.  A gambling disorder involves repeated problematic gambling behaviour that causes significant problems  or distress.

It  is also called gambling addiction or compulsive gambling. Often people addicted to gambling present with dual diagnosis  or comorbidity which means that someone who is experiencing  a gambling addiction  can also have other addictions or mental health issues.

Taking a holistic approach, and exploring the underlying  issues  is needed when treating a gambling addiction. There are many factors that can contribute to a gambling addiction, including desperation for money, the desire to experience thrills and highs, the social status associated with being a successful or escaping from painful situations or issues.  Unfortunately, once a gambling addiction takes hold, breaking the cycle is difficult.  In many instances a severe addictions can take hold when someone feels desperate financially and wants to win back  what they have lost. Once the person finally wins, while they may end up collecting a massive amount of money from that win, it is rarely enough to cover what has already been lost. Most gamblers never even come close to breaking even. In most cases following a big win, the person then gambles away their winnings  within days

What  affect does gambling have?

Problem  gambling impacts on every part of your life. Falling into debt and not having enough money for your everyday expenses. It can cause increased conflict with your partner, neglect or  mistreatment of your family members, and loss of friendships as well as set  you back like; underperforming, failing subjects or losing your job Higher rates of distress and in particular  depression and anxiety. It  can result in feelings of  irritability, anger, guilt, shame and loneliness and a higher chance of substance abuse and drug addiction. As well as higher rates of problem drinking and smoking. It  can cause you to frequently take prolonged leave from work and can  have a negative impact on your home life and as well as  losing  interest in activities you once enjoyed. Because gambling can cause depression, anxiety and the risk of self-harming . Some warning signs can be  Lethargy, fatigue, change in appetite and unhappiness just to mention a few.

Excessive gambling often causes a multitude of emotional symptoms, including anxiety, depression, and even suicidal thoughts and tendencies. In extreme situations, these thoughts may lead a gambler to actually making an attempt to end their life. Losing everything to gambling is devastating and leaves many people feeling completely hopeless. If you are feeling like  this now call lifeline 13 11 14 

Are  There Different Types of Gambling Addiction?

Gambling  is a diverse activity, so different types of gambling addiction exist as well. It is not always obvious when someone is addicted to gambling. Contrary to popular belief, the act of gambling is not restricted to poker machines, cards and casinos and sports betting. Purchasing  a lottery ticket, entering a raffle or making a bet with a friend are also forms of gambling.

How to know when you need help with your gambling

You  should know you need help when you begin spending a lot of time gambling, you’re in debt as a result of gambling, you want to know more about problem gambling, you’d like help with quitting or reducing your gambling, higher rates of distress and mental illness, in particular, high incidence of depression and anxiety, episodes of irritability, anger, guilt, shame and loneliness.

You  should know that someone needs assistance when they begin to lie to family members and others to cover up their behaviour and may turn to others for help with financial problems. Of  course, as with any other addiction, the hallmark sign of a gambling problem is that you feel you cannot stop. If you feel like you need to try just one more time, or if you feel anxious when you think about quitting, it is highly likely you are experiencing a gambling addiction

Getting  help for gambling addiction

The  good news is that there are a wide range of treatment options and resources available to help you manage a gambling addiction. Professional help is recommended, but a variety of self-help and supported options are also available, while gambling cannot be directly  treated with medication, it s advisable to speak to your GP  about your gambling and  anxiety and depression

Often the person gambling may not want to stop and although family members and friends are concerned and want to help, the reality is the person themselves must recognise there is a problem and has the desire to stop.

The  term gambling addiction has long been used in the recovery movement. Gambling physically alters the brain, making people more prone to anxiety and depression.  Gambling is one of the most insidious of human vices, as it presents the illusion of  easy money yet can quickly lead to financial ruin. The odds are never in your favour whether it is poker, blackjack or anything else; gambling is a successful industry because the house always wins. Gambling establishments only exist for this very reason.

Get in touch with a gambling addictions therapist today if you need help.