The Dangers of Gambling Addiction


Last month it was all over the news – a man who appeared to be sane and behaving normally walked into a casino to play. After a few hours with no hope of winning back what he had lost, he found his way out to get gasoline and went back in, setting a casino table on fire and causing more than 30 people to die due to suffocation. 

I’ve watched couples, friends, and relationships fail because of gaming addiction. Apparently, there’s more to it than just losing money and having a bad night. Gambling is one of the top causes of job loss, substance abuse, and compromised physical and mental well-being. Let us delve deeper into the dangers of gambling and its effects on family, friends, business, and overall health. 

Gambling Defined

According to Hailey Shafir, LPCS, LCAS, CCS-I “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.” In literal terms, gambling is the practice of playing a game and betting on something of value with the primary goal of winning. It involves the risk of losing money or properties. It can actually be an enjoyable pastime for kids and adults alike. However, for adults who engage in casinos or the lottery, it is such devastation when winning or losing big time depends solely on chance. Then, gambling becomes a harmful past time. And although almost all of United States legalizes gambling, addiction to it gravely puts individuals and their families in jeopardy. 


The Serious Cons of Gambling

The emerging popularity of gambling has prompted the attention of banks and other financial institutions. This is because they have been victims of gambling addicts who acquire huge amounts of credit to fill their urge to bet continually, despite their large losses. They feel that that the next dice will finally give them the win that will regain all that they have spent, only to lose again. Gamblers further intensify these problems when they borrow more money to meet their family’s financial responsibilities. When they are unable to do so, they resort to more negative measures, such as selling their jewelry, their car, and in other cases, even their houses; The money for which will have been lost to another round of baccarat.  This vicious cycle poses a serious setback economically, with studies suggesting that the American government spends about $40 billion in credit losses and social services alone.  

“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.”  Jeremy Frank PhD CADC, a Philadelphia Psychologist & Addiction Counselor explains. Socially, gambling addiction not only affects the addict himself but the rest of his family and other loved ones. They are usually the go-to people with whom creditors reach out to, because the problem gambler has fled to avoid paying (because he has nothing left) or perhaps he has dug a hole in his kitchen to hide forever! Consequently, the gambler has not only developed stress and anxiety but has rather spread the mental health problems to his family. Sadly, even the children are affected by it, being entangled with parental issues caused by financial and emotional issues. In the end, they will be at a risk of being poor and without parental attention, all because the problem gambler will have developed harmful and undesirable behavior.  

The issue of gambling addiction has continually been addressed in most of the United States, as it has been cited to also cause health problems and criminality. For the gambling addict, there IS a cure for you. But, you have to decide first whether or not you need to quit and look for help. Start with family and friends. Express your desire to stop gambling and be open to different measures that can help you in stopping the addiction. You can also seek professional help. If going to a psychiatrist’s clinic is not a good idea for you, find certified therapists online who are as capable and knowledgeable. “They might be recognizing the ways in which your gambling is affecting you before you are. The sooner you seek help and treatment, the less damage to your finances, relationships, and work you will have to repair.” Jeremy Frank, PhD, CAC  said. Quit today. Save your family. Save yourself.