Gambling, in its many forms, can be a fun way to spend your free time playing games you enjoy with the hopes of winning big. In its purest form, that is all gambling is. When you apply this to real life, however, things are not always so simple. The real fact of life is that people do become addicted to gambling and people do ruin their lives through their incessant spending on all sorts of different games and game types.
Gambling addiction is not something that just applies to sports bettors, or poker players, but rather something that can impact anyone.
What is Gambling Addiction?
Gambling addiction does not take one, solid form. In fact, just as it is with drugs, there can be all sorts of different addicts. Gambling addiction is not like hard drugs where it will necessarily alter your appearance, but rather can be spotted by more subtle clues and is often much more difficult to pick up on.
One of the biggest signs of a problem gambler or gambling addict is that they continue to place wagers when they know the stakes are too high. What I mean by this is that the person in question will relentlessly place wagers even though they are well-aware of the fact that the odds are stacked against them or that they cannot afford to lose the money that they are putting at risk. Though these actions do not always, 100% of the time mean you have a gambling addict on your hands, it is a glaring aspect of the personalities of many problem gamblers.
In many ways, gambling addiction can be fueled by the abuse of drugs. In a lot of instances, those that are ultimately outed as being addicted to gambling are often also addicted to some sort of substance. Whether it be drugs or alcohol, people who love to gamble also love to indulge in other vices. This is proven by the accessibility and prominence of alcohol and tobacco products in brick and mortar casinos.
There is also a high incidence of people who are addicted to gambling who also suffer from some sort of mental disorder, such as depression or ADD/ADHD. In many cases, the two aforementioned afflictions often go undiagnosed for long periods of time, so you may not necessarily know that the person who is suffering from chronic depression is, in fact, suffering at all.
Are you a problem gambler?
If you have read the previous section and feel, in any way, that you might be considered a problem gambler, it would probably serve you best to continue reading. One of the biggest giveaways that you have an addiction to gambling is a feeling of secrecy every time you place any sort of wager. If you are hiding in your room behind a locked door to play blackjack, you might have a problem with controlling your urge to gamble.
Another sign that plays right into the one just mentioned is your ability to walk away after you have lost or won big. If you just struck it big and won $10,000, are you going to turn around and place all that money on a single bet, or are you going to walk away and reflect on being the big winner that you are. In the same breath, are you able to walk away after a devastating, at times improbable, loss? Walking away after winning is one thing, but being able to walk away after losing multiple roulette spins, or slot spins, or blackjack hands is something that is not so easy to do. If you cannot cut your losses and call it a night every time, you could have a problem with the way in which you gamble.
Do you find yourself living paycheck to paycheck, waiting days at a time just to buy yourself food to eat? If you answered in the affirmative, it is often fair to say that you likely should not be spending your free time gambling with that bill or food money. If you are having trouble making ends meet but somehow still have the time to play slots and other casino games online for real money, you likely have a gambling problem.
Solution: Seek Help
In the United States especially, there are many, many outlets for those who may have a problem with their gambling. Not only are there hotlines and other help numbers, but doctors and self-help guides who can bring you out of your addiction. It may sound cliché, but the first step in quitting an addiction is fire admitting that an addiction exists.
The fact of the matter is that you recognizing your problem is a success in and of itself, any help you seek beyond that is a reward for your wish to heal all problems, overt or underlying.
Gambling Addiction Resources
Gamblers Anonymous – http://www.gamblersanonymous.org/ga/
The National Council on Problem Gambling – http://www.ncpgambling.org