Gambling Addiction: Recognise The Signs, Manage Your Problem, Treat Addiction
Prevent and cure gambling problems and debts to regain financial stability and stop growing debt and looming bankruptcy.
If you or a friend or relative have gambling or betting-related financial difficulties, then this article could have gotten to you at the right time.If not, then it can still inform you of the financial risks of gambling as a preventative measure. Gambling problems are one of the main reasons we see for debt, bankruptcy and insolvency. And this doesn’t reflect badly on debtors, but on gambling. Gambling is extremely addictive and by nature, an easy way to lose money.
What is Gambling Addiction? | Financial Security Melbourne
Is gambling addiction a real thing? Is gambling addictive?
Gambling is extremely addictive and gambling addiction is a very real condition that can affect you, your family and friends and certainly your bank account. In behavioural psychology terms, gambling addiction is a compulsion to gamble caused by a dependence on the feeling of gambling. Why do people gamble at all—let alone get addicted to it when it can cause loss of money and extreme debt? Because they are buying this feeling. Psychologically, they are buying dopamine—the ‘feel-good’ chemical in their brain in the same way that drug addicts buy drugs like cocaine that also induce this feeling. Not to malign or stigmatise gamblers, but it is a real addiction in the same way as something that involves physical substances. Except in the gambler’s case this feeling is produced by the hope of victory, the risk of losing, the fun and focus of the game and the social, alcoholic and other elements that are also present in casinos.
Why don’t gambler’s quit while they are ahead (or behind)?
When a gambler is ahead or behind the feelings only get more extreme: the thrill of winning or more commonly, the fear of losing more. Humans are terrible decision makers when they are losing. They are strongly inclined to try to recoup losses rather than just let them fly ('sunk costs bias'). So gambler’s get sucked into a downward spiral, often a debt spiral, where they keep trying to re-win their losses, only to experience increasing debts and fear and their problem gets increasingly motivated by negative rather than positive feelings and increasingly less fun.
Get Out of Debt Today understands gambling addiction and is here to help gamblers regain control of their finances and avoid the debt trap.
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How to realise when you or someone you know has a gambling or betting problem
Compulsive gambling is a very real and very serious condition. Not to alarm sufferers and their friends but it is a psychological condition with signs and symptoms in the same way as other mental and physical ailments. Here are some of the warning signs to look out for if you suspect someone else or if you suspected that you have a gambling problem:
Frequent outings with no/little/implausible/varied explanations.
Frequent expenditures of an improbable nature.
Poor emotional health (that need not be diagnosed): depression, anxiety, other obsessive/compulsive/addictive behaviours.
Negative physical signs: pale skin, weight gain or loss, dark circles under eyes, acne, eczema.
Unfortunately, like most mental conditions, gambling addiction has outward signs that can be concealed, behaviours that can be hidden and symptoms that can be confused with other things. It’s best to build a strong and close relationship with a person suspected of gambling addiction in order to uncover real evidence. And if you suspect yourself of having gambling addiction, it’s best to seek help right now–
Call the Australian Government Gambling Hotline on 1800 858 858
For more information on gambling mental, familial and financial damage and repair, visit your state/territory’s website or another organisation in your state:
Prevent gambling from ruining your finances before it happens
Part of the tragedy of overgambling is its preventability. It’s not a disease or natural cause—it’s entirely a product of human creation. But by the same token, it can be prevented quite surely with diligency, for greater financial security.
Here are some tips for gambling addiction avoidance:
When gambling for fun, stick to a set limit.
Save recreational gambling for special occasions where gambling happens to be convenient. Don’t go out of your way for it.
Preferably, gamble in ways where repeat bets are less convenient. I.e. on horse racing rather than in casinos.
Gamble sober and in company that aren’t problem gamblers or reckless influences.
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Regain control of your finances and self-control
The ultimate aim of this article is to treat your gambling problem, but management is one step in the process from recognition to treatment for you to regain financial stability and avoid extreme spiralling debt. To manage gambling addiction, you should do the following right away:
Seek help. On the Australian gambling helpline (1800 858 858) firstly, then also a support group, family, friends or what the helpline recommends.
Don’t accelerate gambling any further. Gambling accelerates up to the point where it becomes problematic, so stop the decline into insolvency right now by not letting it accelerate further.
These simple tips for gambling addiction management are a start, and they can and should be enacted right now. Then it’s time for treating gambling addiction.
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Stop the bills from piling up. Pay the debts by stopping gambling
Gambling addiction is hard to relinquish, we understand that entirely. But the importance of beating it—for your finances, far outweighs the difficulty. These (non-chronological) steps are few in number but each extremely vital and need to be maintained with utmost diligence to quit gambling for good:
Have the mentality: ‘I will never gamble again’.
Avoid temptation and influence e.g. looking at gambling machines, gambling websites, etc.
Build a support network: including friends, family and even a support group like Gambler’s Anonymous which is a strong support to hold on to and to have guide you through this transitional period.
Seek psychological help for underlying mood disorders: obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), depression, other addictions, anxiety, ADHD and other conditions can be contributing to your gambling problem.
Maintain a ‘No-Gambling Streak’. Record the number of days since you last gambled and take pride in it.
Distract yourself from the internal voices of temptation through healthy activities like exercise, socialising or a hobby.
Give control of your finances to someone you trust, at least in the hardest first few months.
This broad system of compulsive gambling recognition, management and treatment has had success time and time again with others like yourself/someone you know. They work as long as you have the determination to make them work. These should set you on the road to financial recovery and debt repayment.