Alarming Signs That Your Partner Has Developed Serious Gambling Addiction

Do you have any idea if your partner has ever been to a casino? Or maybe your significant other has already tried playing those online gambling apps even once? Don’t underestimate the addictive nature of this game of chances. 

            Source: pixabay.com

Gambling addiction can destroy not just your partner but also you and your relationship. Read on and check if the following are the signs you have been noticing lately. 

“Gambling Disorder is characterized by a pattern of compulsive gambling that becomes problematic and leads to the experience of negative consequences in an individual’s life.” –Hailey Shafir, LPCS, LCAS, CCS-I

Your Partner Avoids Talking About Money 

In short, your partner is becoming﷟HYPERLINK “https://www.elementsbehavioralhealth.com/behavioral-process-addictions/confirming-your-suspicions-how-to-know-for-sure-if-your-spouse-has-a-gambling-problem/amp/”secretive about where he spends the money. If both of you talked about the sharing of bills, the chances are high that your partner is a problem gambler if he or she has missed more than a month of bill shares. 

Furthermore, a sudden change in the cash flow and mood of your significant other at times can confirm your suspicion. A little bit of investigation may not hurt. Take notice of the credit card bills piling up in the mailbox. 

Your Partner Has Been Borrowing Large Amounts Of Money From You Frequently 

It is possible that your money is being used﷟HYPERLINK “http://nyproblemgambling.org/resources/warning-signs/”to fund your partner’s gambling addiction without you knowing. Be wary if he or she promises you a bigger return without being told explicitly where this considerably huge sum would be used and how this ‘larger return’ would happen. It’s okay to give your partner the benefit of the doubt at first, but a second and succeeding borrowing is already too much and should say something. 

“Sometimes problem gamblers spend the money that should go to food or rent or heat on their habit and spend more time on gambling than with the kids and spouse who need them.” –Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D., a licensed psychologist and marriage and family counselor.

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 Certain Things Around The House Have Been Disappearing Lately 

Things with high value in particular mysteriously go missing. It can be alarming as material investments, either by your partner or by both of you, can be at risk of being sold off just to satisfy gambling compulsions and cover all the lost funds from this addiction. 

Frequent Mood Shifts 

Change in mood and behavior is inevitable when it comes to gambling. Your partner undeniably looks too upset, uncomfortable, and irritable without apparent reason as soon as he gets home. More often than not, the question of how his day went will also be ignored. 

Notice your partner’s personality shifting from being cheerful and high-spirited to depressed and frustrated. It can affect habits and patterns in sleeping, eating, and even your sexual relationship. 

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 Obligations Are Being Ignored And Neglected 

Intense cravings to gamble can make your partner disregard responsibilities at home and work. Canceled date nights and noticeably lesser time together maybe because your partner is ‘chasing losses.’ Your partner begins to lose track of time so he can gamble until all the lost money (from gambling as well) is recovered. 

“A person who is a compulsive gambler can recover with treatment, but it’s hard sometimes for a person struggling with compulsive gambling to realize they need help.” –Natalia S. David, PsyD

If your suspicions all come out to be true, then the best thing for you to do is encourage your partner to try therapy as soon as he is ready. Allow your significant other to open up as reasons for this gambling addiction may stem from underlying problems. Gambling can mask these real personal issues. Your relationship doesn’t need to end as there is a lot of available professional help for your partner and your romance. 

Gambling Addiction

 

             Source: gamblingtreatment.net

 

One of the grave dangers of gambling is that one can easily get addicted to it and since addiction is not something that comes overnight, it can become very difficult to quit gambling. It starts from that first step to try it out so that the person can get the fun out of it or to increase their income or just to test their skills. While these go on, there’s a constant zeal to want to get better, to try out something new or to place a higher bet and this constantly drives the person to a very deep end that backing out becomes unlikely and unthinkable.

Hailey Shafir, LPCS, LCAS, CCS-I  explains that “Addiction is a non-medical term that refers to a wide range of mental disorders called Substance Use Disorders. There are a variety of different types of Substance Use Disorders, including Alcohol Use Disorder, Stimulant Use Disorder, and Cannabis Use Disorder, just to name a few.” While there have been efforts made to ease the hearts of people addicted to gambling and help them overcome it, like a depression chat room where they tell their stories and are encouraged to fight the pressure, these efforts have sometimes remained ineffective.

According to REHAB INTERNATIONAL, there is a treatment for gambling addiction which can also be called problem gambling and “Based on recent research, there are currently 2.5 million Americans who have a gambling addiction and an additional three million are considered to be problem gamblers.” (Rehab-international.org)

Symptoms

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  • There will be an excessive craving for gaming/gambling.
  • Reluctance to get involved with other things.
  • Uncontrolled anxiety towards gambling.
  • Going into unnecessary debts just to gamble.
  • Loss of sleep can result in a migraine or depression.
  • Lesser family time.
  • Frequent visits to gaming centres/casinos.

And a whole lot more.

These symptoms are what can be seen before someone gets addicted or while they are yet to become very much addicted. It can be a result of personality disorders or a problem with drugs and alcohol and there will be a need to test new waters. There is a tolerance level that comes beforehand, it eases them into going on and then they want more, the drive for more leads them into getting addicted.

Forms of gambling

While the form or type depends on the country, the very common one is the casino. Someone can spend a large chunk of time there just trying to have fun or make more money. Often times than not, they end up losing a lot and still put in more just to sight a win.

Sports betting is also very popular and almost all the sports if not all have a betting activity, horse racing is very popular and it really does eat deep into finances and can even result in suicidal attempts.

Dangers of gambling addiction

           Source: independent.co.uk

 

Just like the dangers associated with gambling, dangers associated with gambling addictions are like a step further and almost the same. “If people were able to say ‘I am a problem gambler’ in the same way that they say ‘I am an alcoholic’ then it would protect them.” A psychiatrist Dr. Henrietta Bowden-Jones once said.

  • Family woes: A family that has a gambler will also have reasons to not agree and argue. This is because of the effect that gambling has on one’s personality, it’s either he or she becomes so far from the home and forgets the family or the excessive need to spend money on betting which can ruin the family and leave them penniless. Even the children will also be a receiver of the problem leaving them to take or make wrong decisions too.
  • Alcohol and drugs: While this might have been there before, it could also arise as a result of addiction. There might be a need to want to ease depression and just wade off worries and then they end up becoming drug and alcohol addicts which worsen the case.
  • Deformed lifestyle: While the person could have been truthful and sincere, he or she will resort to lying and deceit just to have their way and get what they want or escape queries till another time. So, there’s a continuous thread of lies and insincerity. The person might also lose his or her job and then get put off from the world or just go so far into having an anxiety disorder as a result of excessive anxiety.
  •  Economic effects: A lot of money is lost to gambling daily and yearly which affects the economy. Unemployment increases as people lose their jobs because of fraudulent activities and they can even go bankrupt and result in stealing. They can sell off their properties and all these will have a great effect on the economic life of the gambler and even the nation.

Treatment of gambling

  • As I mentioned earlier that chat rooms or groups have been set up to get addicts to open up and fight the addiction, it might not be fully effective but it’s a great step towards total recovery.
  • There are medications also to help ease the pain or symptoms and get them back in shape. Therapy can also be done to adjust their behavior and their reasoning.

“Addiction psychology is only a primary focus. Psychodynamic and cognitive behavioral approaches, mindfulness and evidence based practices. Trusting that clients know how to steer the direction for what should be discussed in therapy.” –Jeremy Frank PhD CADC

It’s not a totally bad case as it can be treated but the best thing is to not start than to start looking for solutions after losing a lot to it already. So, there’s a need to sensitize someone and also to proffer help to those in need of it because as much as gambling will not make the body swell or result in any physical injury, it can easily take someone’s life after battling with the addiction for long.

Elderly People And Why They Gamble

Source: media.cleveland.com

What makes gambling so addictive?” “How come most people I know that are into gambling are of old age?” These are just some of the few questions that a non-gambling person might ask. Who can blame him/her? The curious person has little to no experience at all with gambling and no exposure to the environment of the casino world, where gambling most often takes place. 

It is not shocking to find people of old age at the casinos or involving themselves in gambling. Go to a casino. More often than not, you’ll see that the slot machines are lined up with older adults. Perhaps, because it is an easy and exciting way of winning cash? Or there’s not much thinking involved? These may be the popular opinions as to why elderly people partake in gambling. But in truth, the reason behind it is that old age is linked to loss of self-control, which can cause them to get addicted easily to gambling. 

Scientific evidence 

A natural component of aging is the shrinking of the size of the brain’s frontal lobes. A more specific term for this process of shrinking is called atrophy. In this process, the tissues of the frontal lobes in the brain begin to waste away on their own. This leads to a great reduction of executive functioning, which is the brain’s capacity to influence one’s behavior. Less executive functioning means less self-control. This will eventually lead the brain to have a significantly harder time to tell a person when enough is enough. As Natalia S. David, PsyD. says, “Not everyone who gambles has a problem with it. It is important to determine whether or not the other person has an addiction.”

This is the reason why elderly people cannot cease their unhealthy habits of gambling. It might not be so much that they are addicted to gambling and that they do it because they genuinely enjoy the act of gambling. It may be because they have little self-control and can’t stop, even if the gambling costs them. 

Progressive effects of lack of self-control 

Source: hdnux.com

What happens to these older adults who find themselves getting addicted to gambling, but almost always end up losing? This can result in many possible things. One of these is anger issues. That is because “The challenge with anger is finding a way to express it in a way that doesn’t make others want to shut down or become defensive or scared.” John M. Grohol, Psy.D.  said.

All of us know the stereotype of elderly people. People usually think of them as grumpy, impatient or reclusive. This image of these people is portrayed in many famous films, wherein the grandparents lose their patience towards their grandchildren, for example. Can this stereotype be applied to the elderly people who gamble? Possibly. 

Going back to what was mentioned earlier, elderly people who actively participate in gambling have little self-control, a trait that comes with old age. Loss of self-control can lead to anger issues such as aggression, frustration or vexation dealt by a loss at the casino. But what can they expect? One does not easily win at gambling. A day at the casino will more likely lead to a loss in cash rather than a profit. With that being said, an elderly person who has severe trouble with self-control is highly at risk of losing his/her temper. 

Source: anzicoaching.com

“The first step was to understand that our goal was to mainstream addiction treatment into the general delivery of health care.” Navdeep Kang, PsyD explains. So to sum up, self-control is not the only thing that elderly people lose when it comes to aging and gambling. It is also money and a cool head that is lost after gambling. 

The Gambler With Anxiety: How To Cope

 

Source: unsplash.com

Anxiety can fuel a gambling problem.

Research has shown that there is a relation between the gambling and anxiety. The 2001–2002 National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions raised suggestions that people with problems in gambling or pathological gambling may also be dealing with anxiety disorders. Specifically, 11% deal with generalized anxiety disorder; almost 15% experience post-traumatic stress disorder; 22% have panic disorder; and 52% are possibly suffering from a specific phobia.

“Anxiety is an adaptation of that vital and fundamental fear response. Sometimes anxiety will tell you that the worst is true.” That is according to Kristine Tye, MA, LMFT. People who are anxious may turn to gambling as a way of dealing with their problems. Some of them say that when they bet, they can separate their anxiety or turn their anxiety into excitement. Thus, the action of gambling becomes a part of their life to the point that it may overwhelm them.

Thus, to elicit change such as removing the gambling behavior, one might need to reduce or alleviate anxiety first. There are ways to do so.

Relax

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A complete psychological and physiological opposite of anxiety and worry is relaxation. Whereas panic and anxiety may show increased heart rate and the need to gasp for air, with relaxing comes a slower heart rate, lower blood pressure, and calm mind. If one practices to rest regularly, the effects can be significant. Although it may seem too simple, relaxing is genuinely a way by which people can learn how to counteract anxiety, as both cannot occur at once. However, true relaxation goes more than just watching TV while on the couch. Karin Draper, LMFT explains that “Anxiety can often lead to substance abuse as a means to cope, particularly for those experience social anxiety or those who experience a high level of stress and struggle to find other means of relaxation.”

There are times when anxiety levels reach high that people feel psychologically and physically bothered and uncomfortable. During these times, relaxation exercise like identifying, defusing triggers, and breaking cycles of anxiety, can help with them. One should also practice doing it daily and regularly so that they will know what to do all the time.

Pure relaxation isn’t easy, but one can get better at it through practice. Activities that help both the body and mind relax include meditation and yoga. This helps someone be more aware of their body and recognize when it’s becoming too intense. These are also easily done at your home.

Visualization Exercise

A great strategy is to mix the breathing exercise with the muscle relaxation exercises earlier along with visualization.

Visualizations work better if the individual believes that it is a safe place and if he uses the senses to imagine it to include details. This can help one to forget the negative thoughts. For example, you can imagine going to the park. In time and with enough practice, he can imagine even the birds they hear in the park, the smell of the grass, the sun on the skin, and the grass beneath the feet.

Replacement Activities

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Things people do to alleviate their anxiety is by distracting themselves. Therefore, doing something else other than gambling can help focus one’s attention and concern from the negative thoughts and worry. Once this alleviates the stress, there might be a reduction in the need to gamble. “To quell overwhelm, engage in an activity that you enjoy, such as listening to music, reading a book or taking a walk. And consider how you can solve the stressors that triggered your overwhelm in the first place” Marla W. Deibler, PsyD elaborates.

Doing another activity unrelated to gambling may mean finding new hobbies or going back to old interests. If done continuously, they may evolve in such a way that it takes over the coping mechanism of gambling to reduce anxiety and ultimately replace it. There’s no need to think too hard on what to do. It can be something as simple as reading fictional books, drawing, or listening to new music like BTS.

Be Patient

Dropping gambling isn’t something that can be done in a short time, just like how Rome wasn’t built in a day. It would take time as it would require many changes in their lifestyle like getting new skills. There will be times wherein the person involved might regress, but it’s part of the process. It takes baby steps to make significant changes, not giant leaps.

5 Negative Effects Of Gambling On Your Relationships

After winning yet another game, you feel happy. You collect your winnings. Then, you decide to try your luck again and spend it in another round. 

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This time, you lose. You’re calling your wife, but she’s not answering. She’s frustrated that you’re still out at this hour. Your friends? They already left you because you lost. You start to feel lonely and isolated. 

Just like any addiction, you realize that ﷟HYPERLINK “http://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/for-the-public/What-is-gambling.aspx” gambling has adverse effects not only to yourself but for everyone around you. 

  1. Mistrust/ Loss Of Trust 

Gambling addicts consciously or unconsciously hide behind lies and deceit to get their fix. For example, some makeup excuses just to get to their favorite casino. While other people take it extremes, such as stating fake illnesses in the family just to gather capital for their gambling. 

Constant lying and deceit can lead to loss of trust. Eventually, these lies end up putting a strain on relationships. This strain does not occur within the family; it can even extend to friends and colleagues.  But note, “If you have had significant issues around trust, safety, or stability in relationships previously, I think it’s important for people to have other sources of support outside of their partner(s). This support can come in various forms such as friends, family members, clergy, and even a therapist.” says Jor-El Caraballo, LMHC.

2. Financial Loss 

Addiction to gambling also means less financial support available for the family. Gambling addicts are usually the breadwinners. More often than not, these gambling addicts use up their limited budget to gamble. These funds are supposedly allotted for food or other expenses within the home.  Elizabeth Scott, MS, a wellness coach says  “Learning to cope with financial stress and effectively manage your financial situation can help you feel more in control of your life, reduce your stress, and build a more secure future.”

             Source: pixabay.com

 3. Breakdown Of Family Relations 

Resentment from other family members ensues because of the limited time spent on bonding with the family. First, the spouse feels neglected. Most of the duties inside the home are now a burden of the other spouse. Less income available also translates to increased economic responsibility for the spouse, leading to more resentment. 

The children also feel resentment towards the gambler because they don’t feel the needed love and support. Heated conflicts between spouses due to finances can also lead the children to become depressed and isolated. 

4. Possible Influence On Children 

Parents are supposedly the first examples for their children. These children’s worldview takes after their parents and relatives. So if the children see one of their parents addicted to gambling, they may ﷟HYPERLINK “https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5316223/”take after them. 

           Source: flickr.com

Gamblers should worry that they may be setting up a bad example for their children. If their children experience the same problems with gambling in their future, they are only the ones to blame. 

5. Limited Social Circles 

There is the saying that the “birds of the same feather, flock together.” And gamblers are the ones who often stay together. Gamblers are awake at odd hours; they are awake at night and usually asleep during the day. 

Having an odd sleeping pattern thus limits the people gamblers interact with. 

Having mentioned these negative effects, what should you do to get on the right track? 

First off, you should consult a medical expert. Often, when you are too engrossed in your gambling activities, you become unaware that you are hooked on it already. 

A medical expert, specifically a psychiatrist, will be able to diagnose your condition and advise healthy coping mechanisms. 

Neglecting your symptoms can lead to even more disastrous outcomes for your relationships. Decide to take action to start the path to recovery. 

Mental Health Effects Of Gambling

 

                  Source: americanaddictioncenters.org

Gambling has various effects, one of which is on the mental health of the gambler. While it is necessary to know these effects, it is also of utmost importance to know about mental health.

Mental health

According to Erica Thompson, LMFT, LPCC “Mental health struggles are real. They can be painful. You may feel alone. In some of the darkest times, you may feel like something is “wrong” with you to the core.”Mental health is a level of psychological and emotional well-being; it is the state of mind we are in, the way we think, act and even how we feel. It is a very important thing to take note of, and we must be conscious of it at every stage of our life; right from when we are young even up till old age. Having someone to talk to is also very important as it helps to study the state of our mind and it improves our mental health.

While gambling can be addictive and also influencing our mental health; it can be rewarding and risky. It has always been a ticket to end boredom for some people and it makes them feel they are very strong but it can cause anxiety and depression when it becomes addictive. As we take a look at the mental health effects of gambling, we’ll consider its positive side and the risk attached to it too.

The positive effect of gambling on mental health

                 Source: gambleore.com

While it is very risky to one’s mental health, gambling sure does open up a challenge to a gambler’s mental health.

Extensive studies have shown that while people retire and do little or no work like fishing or just resting, those that engage in activities requiring heavy thoughts tend to make effective use of their brain. Those that retire and just stay at home will later have some parts of their brain idle while those that gamble will still make effective use of those parts that might have become idle. Though it is not only gambling that requires heavy thoughts it is worthy of note that gambling does require consistent heavy thought.

As the brain is the center of most of the impulses and reactions, it is also the source of the strength attached to mental health. As long as the brain is in good condition, then mental health is also in the right condition. So, gambling is not all that bad and it does have its positive influence.

It is, therefore, necessary to note, that it is this consistent gambling that might turn out to be an addiction and will lead to the negative side effects. When there’s a feeling of comfort; the addictive pain then comes up and then there’s no letting go. So, what happens to mental health when gambling becomes an addiction?

Negative effects of gambling on mental health

              Source: addictionhope.com

The major effect that rocks the boat of gambling is the effect it has on the mental health of the gambler. While it starts gradually and looks like it’s really nothing, it becomes a thorn in the flesh and harms the gambler constantly.  Let’s take a look at some of the consistent negative effects. “If your gambling addiction has led to severe social, medical, legal and/or financial difficulties, you may need to find an inpatient program to give a jumpstart to your treatment,” says Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D., a licensed psychologist and marriage and family counselor.

  • Depression and anxiety: They are often experienced together because when there’s an expectation as the dice are rolling, it leads t anxiety and then there’s a force of depression that settles in gradually especially when the gambler doesn’t win. Over time, the gambler gets used to it while also beating the mental health of the gambler down.
  • Bipolar disorder: It is also called “manic depression”. It is a mental health disorder that results in periods of elevated mood (hypomania) and periods of depression. It is characterized by these two separate moods; the person feels energetic and is able to tackle or face any situation though he/she might give a poor judgment, then it comes with a feeling of depression and the person feels cut out from the world and behaves seemingly opposite to the way he/she once felt.
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): Another negative mental health issue is this disorder that results in not being able to be attentive, being excessively active and having difficulty controlling one’s behavior. It is a rampant disorder that can occur during childhood and can be prevalent in a lifetime but it can also be treated. It also duly affects gamblers after continuous moments with gambling.

It is always nice to look at the bright side of things but it’s even better to consider the flaws and side effects. Though, gambling might have its good side; it is a really terrible activity to get used to. There’s a need to gamble with caution if you are ever going to gamble and there’s a need to watch the signs of addiction or mental health issues as it starts so little and becomes an unquenchable fire. Lillian Harris LCPC-C used to say, “So much of mental health work is about giving people a space to be witnessed and held while sharing the good, the bad, and the ugly of human life.” And she is right.

Dangers Of Gambling

 

           Source: palaceofchance.com

Despite the high level of uncertainty, gambling is very much evident and a lot of people still take an active part in it. From the young to the old, no one is left out of the adventure of gambling. People often get to spend all that they have with the hope of hitting the jackpot on a lucky day.

Present Trend

Gambling has taken an amusing trend with the availability of online sports betting. People can now predict the outcomes of various sports matches on their mobile phones with the hope of earning more than they have invested. Gambling is a very addictive act and can be quite difficult to control or stop. Many gamblers often need the assistance of a therapist to break the gambling addiction.

To make it more fascinating, popular faces and brands are used as ambassadors and sponsors to get more people to be interested in it and while gambling is likely to pay, it is also likely to not pay. But for the zeal to just play and win a massive amount compared to the amount of bet placed, a lot of people join this risky adventure knowing that winning is by chance.

Winning is by chance

         Source: excesscasinos.com

No one has accurate details about the certainty of an uncertain issue and so no gambler knows the precise result of a game but they make an assumption that can either be true or false. They make their bets based on their expected earnings then gladly and anxiously await the result of the game or the number on the die.

It might not even yield a positive result the first time, so another trial is imminent and this continues until a slight victory is recorded but a lot of resources will be dumped for a slight victory and only in few instances do winnings come big.

So, what happens when there is no win? Let’s take a look at the dangers of gambling.

Associated Dangers

               Source: debt.org

As much as there can be positive sides to gambling, it is necessary to be aware of the dangers that are associated with gambling.

  1. Loss of money: This is the major danger of gambling, it is as simple as if you don’t win a bet or gamble; your money is gone. Even with this consciousness, a lot of people are not bothered but it is expedient that this danger is considered before gambling as there will be no refund.
  • Addiction: This is one of the very grave dangers of gambling as a trial can convince a person and then trap the person into not letting go, till it gets to the point of a daily routine and a lifetime activity. “A person who is a compulsive gambler can recover with treatment, but it’s hard sometimes for a person struggling with compulsive gambling to realize they need help,” says Natalia S. David, PsyD. Apart from the fact that a person can spend all of his or her money before the day ends on gambling, it has health problems attached too. It can affect the person psychologically and this will result in the person having to receive treatment. 
  • Debts: Gambling can also make a person go deep down into an ocean of debts as there will be a need to get money to gamble even when there isn’t enough again and there will be a need to borrow from others to pay debts because the gamble or bet did not pay. “Sometimes problem gamblers spend the money that should go to food or rent or heat on their habit and spend more time on gambling than with the kids and spouse who need them.” says Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D., a licensed psychologist and marriage and family counselor.
  • Family woes: When there’s a need to spend money on something important, the husband or wife that gambles will impede that and it will result in arguments that can break up a home. The children can also be on the receiving end of the issue as they can be left in the car while their parents gamble at a casino and these will make the child feel forgotten as they won’t have enough time with their parents anymore.  “Because gambling is known to trigger these addiction pathways, it is often considered to be a behavioral addiction – or behavior that can become compulsive over time, causing a lot of harm to people’s lives.” Hailey Shafir, LPCS, LCAS, CCS-I adds.
  • Depression: A lot of things are associated with getting depressed; it could be as a result of losing self-esteem after a losing streak or the feeling of not having enough time to spend with family and attend events because more time will be spent gambling than with the social world. There’s this anxiety that grips gamblers and it’s always there, so when there’s a poor result; there’s a great form of depression.

It is always hard to stop gambling when a very long period has been placed on it. Though some people still get to win and they win big but others are not lucky and it results in terrible things. So, before you take a step towards gambling, take time to also know the dangers because it comes with side effects and you might have been drenched in its guilt before you even realize your existence.

Care For Pathological Gamblers

 

Source: sciencedaily.com

Problem gambling (or ludomania, usually referred to as “gambling addiction” or “compulsive gambling”) is an urge to gamble continuously despite harmful negative consequences or a desire to stop. Pathological gamblers have lost the strength to resist gambling impulses and they just accept the advances made by gambling and head straight on for it.

It is very common for pathological gamblers to feel empty as the only thing of importance is gambling and nothing else appears to matter; it becomes that bad. Then they start feeling ashamed and drift gradually away from people because they can’t stand the sight of people realizing their problem.

It all starts small, and when an activity becomes a habit, the tendency of getting addicted sets in. So, the consistent action results in not wanting to stop and gradually; it’s hard to imagine life without it. Dr. Howard Samuels, PsyD. tells everyone that “Admitting you have a problem is the first step in treating your addiction. However, due to the nature and the danger of this disease, simply just stopping on your own is highly unadvisable.”

 

Pathological gambling

Source: techaddiction.ca
           

As explained by Jeremy Frank PhD CADC, a Philadelphia Psychologist & Addiction Counselor “Gambling addiction is often referred to as the “hidden illness” because there are no physical signs or symptoms that accompany it as is the case with many alcohol or drug abusers.” Pathological gambling is a disorder that is being understudied and also progressive; it is highly disabling too. It affects 2% – 3% of Americans and women make up one-quarter of all pathological gamblers. It has been found to be a result of the disorder of impulse control. According to www.medscape.com, “Prevalence estimates of pathological gambling have ranged from 0.77% to 3.4% in the US adult population”

It is very evident in males and comes in their early adult years but not very evident in females. Recently, it has become prevalent among females as they are now very much exposed to it and there’s increased accessibility to it.

Symptoms

Below are some of the signs that you’ll notice in people that are pathological gamblers:

  • Anxiety: Always eager to gamble or get involved in gambling activities and then become placed under pressure.
  • Depression: Always cut out from people and in constant thoughts about their losses.
  • Gambling tolerance: They are able to tolerate a level and now seek a greater and higher challenge every time.
  • Dishonesty: Lies surround their every word and the truth becomes far from them.
  • Accumulated debts: They borrow constantly, heaping debts on already accumulated debts.
  • Derailed Optimism: They believe that they will win but you never really truly see them win.
  • Loss: Ranging from job to relationship to friendship. Pathological gamblers lose more than money, they lose a whole of things they once had.
  • Crimes: When they get into debts, they resort to crimes to get the money they crave; and this leads them down the path of crime.

These and much more are the symptoms you’ll notice in pathological gamblers and at this point, they really need help but they will not easily move to get help and would continue to go deep down into their addiction till it’s either too late or till they get help.

Treatment/Care for PG

Though, PG can lead to suicide attempts and even suicide; it is worthy of note that it can be treated and those affected can be cared for. There is really no standardized treatment for pathological gambling, some means have been brought up and are effective for the treatment.

Source: everydayhealth.com
          
  • Support groups: A very prevalent care for pathological gambling is found in meeting up with people that are also experiencing the problem and opening up so as to get charged to stop. A support group such as Gamblers Anonymous (GA) is a 12-step program that aims at helping people to overcome the addiction and live free of the addiction.
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT):  is a short-term, goal-oriented psychotherapy treatment that takes a hands-on, practical approach to problem-solving. Its goal is to change patterns of thinking or behavior that are behind people’s difficulties, and so change the way they feel. It is used to help treat a wide range of issues in a person’s life, from sleeping difficulties or relationship problems to drug and alcohol abuse or anxiety and depression. (www.psychcentral.com)
  • Medications: Studies have shown that medications can also treat PG but the study on the particular people that will respond to the treatment is still not accurate yet. It has been found that antidepressants and opioid antagonists (naltrexone) may help treat the symptoms of pathological gambling.

It is going to be very effective if two or more of these treatment types can be used as not one of them is 100% effective. It is never too late to treat PG, and before it becomes out of your power; take that step to help someone or take that step to get it solved. Remember, “Not everyone who gambles has a problem with it. It is important to determine whether or not the other person has an addiction.” Natalia S. David, PsyD said. 

Therapy And Counseling For Compulsive Gambler

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           Source: healdove.com

 

Some of the best treatments of compulsive or pathological gambling involve staying close to the patients, offering medication, speaking carefully to the patient, helping them focus, helping them breathe easily and so on.

“Compulsive gambling is a serious addiction that can cause severe consequences.”  That is according to Natalia S. David, PsyD. The treatment of compulsive gambling is diverse and quite effective. Although it can be very challenging because just like in other forms of addiction it is often difficult for patients to admit they have a problem and subsequently take the necessary steps to ensure that they are no longer dependent on gambling.

          Source: blogs.hrhero.com

Acknowledgment and identification of a problem is usually the first step in solving any problem, this is particularly key in treating compulsive gambling everywhere in the world. “Admitting you have a problem is the first step in treating your addiction. However, due to the nature and the danger of this disease, simply just stopping on your own is highly unadvisable,” says Dr. Howard Samuels, PsyD. Some of the most effective treatments have been on those patients who came to the conclusion that they had a gambling problem

If your family or your employer pressured you into therapy, you may find yourself resisting treatment. But treating a gambling problem can help you regain a sense of control — and perhaps help heal damaged relationships or finances.

           Source: americanaddictioncenters.org

Although gambling addiction is a serious, potentially dangerous disorder, it can be treated with a combination of therapeutic modalities, recovery resources, and supportive psychosocial services. These therapies and services are available through professional treatment programs that specialize in addressing compulsive gambling, with or without a co-occurring substance use disorder. Treatment may take place at an inpatient facility, where 24-hour supervision and support are provided, or at an outpatient rehab program, which offers greater autonomy and flexibility to clients.

Some of the best therapy and counseling treatment of compulsive gambling include;

  • Individual therapy: This involves a very intimate one-on-one working relationship between the therapist and the patient. It is very effective as it encourages the patient to recognize triggers and learn the best possible way to handle the triggers. The therapist makes use of Motivational Interviewing (MI) that directly engages the patient and produces great results.
  • Group therapy: this is one of the most effective and cheap ways of getting help from compulsive gambling. It brings together a network of people who are going through similar challenges and who are willing to help themselves as well as others to get better. Most times in group therapy sessions, members share their experiences and how they are personally coping and their hopes and dreams. The Gamblers Anonymous and the 12-step programs form some of the best group therapy.
  • Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT): “CBT is a relatively brief, skills-focused treatment that has been shown to be effective for a wide variety of mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, anger, social skills deficits, and relational problems.” Shelby Harris, PsyD, CBSM said. This type of therapy is designed to completely address and change the thought process and consequently destructive behavior of compulsive gamblers. It is designed to change the negative thoughts and behaviors of compulsive gamblers that make them believe that they are closer to a big win that to their next loss. It ultimately replaces such negative and destructive thoughts with positive ones.
  • Family and or couples therapy: The sad truth is that addiction is never really a personal thing as the likelihood that it affects the family whether directly or indirectly is high. Most time the money meant for the family or the kids can be spent on gambling other times it can lead to the breakdown of a relationship and even the home. Involving your family and getting the support you need from them, Strengthens family bonds, reestablishes trust and is quite effective in not only getting rid of an addiction but also ensuring that you do not relapse.
  • In-patient care: A more intensive program may be required if compulsive gambling has resulted in financial, legal, medical and other challenges. The inpatient care typically involves close supervision; individual and group therapy as well as life coaching that is designed to get you back on track.

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Symptoms Or Tips For Identifying Gambling Addiction

 

           Source: addiction.com

It is necessary to be able to prevent a problem before it becomes uncontrollable and to do this, careful and precise attention must be placed at noticing the signs attributed to the problem. Gambling addiction has its symptoms and these symptoms make it easy to unravel the involvement of someone; and also to check one’s self towards preventing a great fall.

There are various possible means to understanding or realizing people that are already addicted, apart from having a talk therapy; that will be intended at figuring out someone’s intention and involvement, other symptoms can be taken note of as well.

It is not enough to talk about the symptoms for identifying gambling addictions without taking a brief look at this addiction.

Gambling Addiction

          Source: casinoz.club

Gambling is the willingness to sacrifice something of value in other to acquire something of greater value compared to what was sacrificed. So, gambling addiction is the consistent urge for gambling irrespective of the adverse effects it will have on one’s life. It is that point when gambling becomes a habit and there’s really nothing that can stop a person from gambling even after losing.

“Even those who have never been to a casino and likely never will can still become addicted gamblers because of the proliferation of gambling websites.” –Dr. David Hodgson

It is also referred to as problem gambling; it is an addictive disorder according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM 5) and has also been tagged as an impulse control disorder according to the American Psychiatric Association (APA) based on the study on pathological gambling.

Gambling addiction can be caused by an excessive hunger for gambling and it is at that point when nothing else appears paramount except gambling. Though it is possible to have control over your gambling habit, this is rare and might even end up leading to an addiction.

Symptoms and Tips

           Source: meridianhealthcare.net

It is necessary to be able to help those that are addicted and also to keep one’s self in check, there are various things that can be taken into consideration to know when to quit or when to seek help. As it is hard to give up easily on addiction, it is better to be conscious of the symptoms or signs of addiction.

So, what signs must be seen to know that gambling addiction is occurring to someone?

  1. Financial instability: One of the most obvious signs is finance as the person will have to struggle to meet up with his/her daily target and the hunger for more will always be there. As Eric Dammann, PhD used to say, “We all have money issues and quirks of one kind or another. If we don’t know what those quirks are, they will emerge in a time of real stress or panic.” When a person that gambles begin to have issues with finance and then still continues to gamble in that instability; then it’s time to stop because the same feeling he/she gets with a lesser amount of money, will not be able to be met by the same amount; which leads to an increasing amount of money spent daily.
  2. Keeping Secrets: When the problem persists, the gambler begins to keep secrets of his/her movements and even of their spending. They are very much interested in placing bets and putting a large sum of money into gambling than any other thing, so the need for secrecy begins. When this is noticed, seek help.
  3. Spending time away: Addicted gamblers derive so much pleasure in giving a large chunk of their time to gambling, this allows them to spend time away from their family and even friends. They can decide to come home late from work or just head out after work and come back very late, the time they spend increases as the addiction grows. They also neglect to gather with people who are not gamblers because that’s where they feel they fit in.
  4. Desperation: When there is a desperate need for money and they are willing to do anything it’ll take to get more, just so they will have more money to gamble, and they can even consider theft or fraud, then that is another sign to identify gambling addiction. They can even spend time talking about gambling and express how it makes them feel.
  5. Source of happiness: “Happy people do things differently. They make their emotional wellbeing a priority and practice daily and weekly habits that help them create joy, happiness and satisfaction in their lives.” Dr. Chantal Gagnon PhD LMHC said. But there are those who tend to get enough satisfaction from gambling than any other thing. It becomes their number one priority and ultimately becomes their source of happiness. They derive pleasure in gambling any time and no love is shown by the family of friends will seem enough to match their burning desire for gambling.

When questions begin to bug our minds about our stand with gambling and we find ourselves testing positive to them instead of having negative responses, it’s a call to check ourselves. Questions like:

  • Do you spend so much on gambling than any other thing?
  • Do you find pleasure in meeting with friends or spending that time in a casino?
  • Do you constantly fall into debts and then continue to still borrow to quench your desire to gamble?
  • Do you neglect family time just to meet up with a gambling activity?
  • Do you continuously find yourself going back to gamble after you have decided to quit?

It means there’s a lot to be done and help is very much needed as quickly as possible.