Self Help Tips For Treating Gambling Addiction

Addiction in any form is dreadful and addiction of gambling is an obsessive-compulsive disorder. Gambling occasionally can be enjoyable, but prolonged interest in it, can turn into an obsession, compelling the gambler to gamble continuously, irrespective of whether he wins. Gambling addiction takes a toll on the addict’s finances and affects him socially, psychologically and physically. It devastates the gambler’s life and has serious consequences on family and friends.

How does gambling addiction start

People generally resort to gambling for various reasons, like curiosity, trying once and winning and getting hooked, but mostly gambling addiction is the escape route from personal relationship problems or any past or current failure in life. The simplest way someone gets addicted is to try once or twice, and with beginner’s luck, he wins, but after that he starts losing. In an effort to gain back the entire money, the gambler goes on playing, till he is left with nothing. Addicts do not hesitate to beg, borrow or steal money to continue their routine of gambling.

This situation must be tackled before it moves beyond control, but the most difficult task is to locate and identify an addict. An addict gambler is very smart to hide his characteristic traits. However, one symptom can give them away – they always try to sneak around, lie about their whereabouts and ask people to lend money.

Self-help for treating gambling addiction – What are the options?

The first step in curing gambling addiction is to confess in the presence of someone else. The presence of someone close would help the addict remain motivated to his efforts. This is the most difficult step as one who can admit that he is an addict, is half way through the curing process because most addicts shy away due to the fear of social rejection.

After the admission, the addict must avoid visiting the places where he gambles, like casinos and clubs. If he is addicted to online gambling then he must remove all sites from the computer. The next step is to engage in some fruitful activity that distracts the addict from gambling, like taking a walk, or visiting a gym.

Following natural therapies are better and safer than trying some kind of medicine, because all medicines have side effects and runs the risk of creating drug dependency. Gambling addicts can also join gambling anonymous support forums, where they can see others like them, trying to get rid of this dangerous habit.

Another step towards a better life can be self-hypnosis. An addict can either get a hypnotist / hypnotherapist, or buy a CD of self-hypnosis, or use a mix of the two methods. A hypnotist will not only hypnotize, but listen to his problems and identify the reasons for gambling and state a solution. However, if this option is not possible to avail for someone, self – hypnosis CDs is a good option too. Remember, getting rid of gambling addiction is an ongoing battle that an addict has to continue fighting unless chances of relapses end completely.

Gambling Addiction: How Is It Different From Other Addictions

The word “Addiction” is characterized by many people as being a negative compulsion. A person with an addiction is unable to stop doing the thing they are addicted to.

Not all addictions are the same, and even though we are focusing more on gambling addiction, we also want to touch on other addictions that can overtake a person’s life.

What Are The Different Type of Addictions?

There are basically three categories for addictions:

1. Substance
2. Impulse/Emotional
3. Behavioral

Most people relate substance addiction to drugs, but it can also be related to: alcohol, tobacco, prescription drugs, and inhalants.

Impulsive/emotional types include: gambling, stealing, and pyromaniacs (setting fires).

Behavioral types include: eating, shopping, pornography, working, and perfectionism.

The one thing all of these addictions have in common is – control. A person with an addiction, gambling or otherwise, is in bondage to their addiction. The crazy thing about this problem is – they don’t overlap most times. A person addicted to gambling will not have any desire to set fires and a pyromaniac won’t be tempted to gamble.

Taking a Closer Look at Gambling Addiction

There’s a distinct difference between a gambling and substance addiction. Gambling is triggered at an emotional level and substance addictions are craving some type of chemical relief.

The gambling atmosphere is all about “emotions” and “excitement” but alcohol, smoking, stress, anxiety, and many other vices are all part of the casino experience. This is one instance where the initial addiction can lead a person into multiple other addictions.

Casinos spend millions of dollars each year studying the habits of gamblers. Gambling is different from other addictions because of money. Money is the fuel for gambling and the emotional rush comes from having your money on the line.

Slot machines are designed so that the colors and sounds attract people to play; at that point money loses its value. The tables convert cash into chips. By doing this the player loses their sense of value for money; the casino knows exactly what they are doing.

Pathological gambling destroys relationships, it devastates finances, and it can even cause a person to commit suicide. So, what can cause a person to become a gambling addict?

Since gambling is categorized as an emotional/impulsive addiction, we have to look at other emotions that can trigger it. The experts have listed a few:

- Anxiety
- Depression
- Stress (work/family)
- Personal Loss
- Debt

We also have to include the “beginners luck” syndrome. There’s a natural attraction to easy money and lotteries are one example of this fact. The multimillion dollar lottery pools are a reflection of the hope of getting rich, and this is what drives a person to the point of becoming a gambling addict.

When gambling becomes an addiction it goes beyond just winning, it’s more about just playing. People who are addicted can be winning thousands of dollars and not quit, why?

The reason is – love. The love of gambling. The phase of losing and desperation comes next, and this is when the addiction can turn into a monster. Fortunately there is help, and there are help centers waiting to help.

Gambling Addiction: What to Look For

Gambling addiction is an impulse-control disorder. It is a compulsive behavior that the person has lost control over. A compulsive gambler can think of nothing else, only gambling. Even when the gambler begins to hurt himself, or his family, he cannot quit gambling. Even when the gambler has nothing to bet and the consequences would be extreme if he lost, a gambling addict will continue to gamble.

Like other addictions, such as drug or alcohol addictions, a gambling addiction usually stems from something else in the person’s life. Often when an individual is feeling upset, depressed or angry over something in his life, gambling may present itself as an outlet, seeming like a low-key way to relax and check out from life for a minute or two. From there a habit begins to form, and the individual turns to gambling to escape stresses in life–be it an argument with a spouse or friend, a layoff at work, loss of a family member and so on.

There are a few things an individual can look at to see if he does, in fact, have a gambling addiction:

Do you have trouble controlling your gambling?

Do you think about it all the time?

Do you gamble when you do not have any more money?

Do you feel the need to be secretive about your gambling?

Are family members trying to tell you that you have an addiction?

Are you defensive when people ask you about your gambling?

Keep the above in mind when evaluating whether you, a family member or friend has a gambling addiction. Someone who is addicted to gambling will go through great lengths to hide their addiction. For instance, they may hide information about finances, or begin to lie about where they have been.

When these symptoms become apparent in the life of someone around you, it is critical to get them treatment right away. Gambling addiction can have terrible negative effects on family, finances, friendships and personal health.

If you are the one struggling with a gambling addiction do not hesitate to seek support. Take the steps necessary to protect yourself and those around you by finding a treatment center.

An addiction treatment center can help a patient with a gambling addiction cope with the issues of life, giving them alternative means to deal with the stress. Many find frequent exercise, time with family and friends or time spent learning a new activity or hobby distracts them from their desire to gamble and helps to ease their impulses. If you do suffer from a serious problem, or have a friend that you feel poses a threat to themselves or others due to their addiction, it is best to immediately seek out an addiction treatment center to get medical help and begin the path to recovery.