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Warning Signs of Gambling Addiction

A gambling addiction can wreak havoc on a person’s well-being, just like someone addicted to a substance. Impulse control is the root of gambling addiction, while compared to drug addiction’s substance triggered.

Gambling addiction is widespread, and the numbers surprise most people. However, gamblers may be unaware they are suffering from other unknown disorders. This form of addiction is a recognized disorder in the medical books but does not carry the stigma typically assigned to mental health and substance use disorders. 

An Overview of Gambling Addiction

Recreational gambling can be safe and enjoyable when placing responsible wagers, and there is always a sense of control. The problem is those seeking an insatiable urge to bet money irresponsibly are not in control of their gambling, which becomes a habit. A gambling addiction combines the lack of willpower with a constant need to gamble, feelings of anxiety when unable, and losing all perspective on how much money they are losing.

Finally, indications of gambling addiction are a concern when gambling becomes secretive, lying to family and friends begins, and some use illegal means to procure money for gambling.  The National Council on Problem Gambling states that 2 million adults in the United States possess a severe problem with gambling.

Unfortunately, another 4 to 6 million adults have mild to moderate gambling problems. Another proven factor is that gambling addiction can affect anyone regardless of age, sex, or socioeconomic factors. Gambling addiction resources are available to those experiencing gambling issues. 

Who is Most Prone to Developing a Gambling Addiction?

Researchers study the gambling habits of people and collect data concerning gambling addiction. For example, those with an alcohol use disorder are 23 times more likely to develop a gambling addiction.

With over 80% of Americans gambling yearly, 3 to 5 people out of every 100 have a gambling problem. Even more alarming, as many as 750,000 people ages fourteen to twenty-one have a gambling addiction. 

The following risk factors could increase the probability of someone becoming addicted to gambling:

  • Those diagnosed with ADHD, or borderline or impulsive personality disorders
  • Males with ages between 30 and 50
  • A history of gambling addiction within the family
  • Financial difficulties
  • Feeling a link between your level of self-esteem and the number of winnings
  • Childhood trauma or abuse
  • Those diagnosed with depression, anxiety, and feeling lost in life

Gambling Addiction Effects on Finances

Not only do those with a gambling addiction lose perspective on their finances to the urge to gamble, but they also use credit cards for cash advances. In addition to high credit card debt, high-interest rates make it challenging to keep up with the payments.

Financial consequences multiply when they cause a loss of high credit scores, denials when applying for loans, and even bankruptcy. Financial ruin can negatively affect important relationships and cause termination from employment. Sports gambling entices those with gambling addiction by offering free bets through easily accessible online apps.

However, roughly 23 million Americans are in debt from a gambling problem. On average, people lose up to $55,000 during their addiction. As a result, lottery betting presents another source of financial loss for 3 quarters of lottery players with incomes of $25,000 a year or less. 

The Types of Gambling Addiction

Gambling addiction is the first non-substance addiction to be recognized by mental health professionals. Four types of gambling are social, problem, pathological, and professional present different problematic behaviors. However, most people are social gamblers having fun once or twice a year.

Professional gamblers rely on gambling to make a living and frequently reside in or visit Las Vegas. Finally, problem gamblers compulsively gamble and are preoccupied with gambling in the early stages of addiction. Pathological gamblers have a gambling addiction.

In addition, those with a gambling addiction have distorted thought patterns that could include superstitions, delusions, and actual denial. Pathological gamblers believe gambling will produce money to solve all their problems and improve their world. Subsequently, gambling addicts feel physically affected when entering a casino or gambling opportunity. 

Gambling Addiction Signs

Unlike casual or social gamblers, those with a gambling addiction have a compulsion to continue gambling to win back the money they lost. Unfortunately, the urge to continue gambling, although they do not have enough funds to keep going, makes people steal or commit fraud to get more money. It is not unusual for pathological gamblers to blame others for their problem, deny the addiction and spend their rent money on gambling. 

Signs and symptoms of compulsive gambling (gambling addiction) can include any of the following:

  • Preoccupation with gambling and finding more money to gamble with
  • Feeling the urge to increase betting amounts to achieve the same thrills
  • An inability to control or stop gambling practices
  • Restlessness and irritability when trying not to gamble or cut down on gambling ventures
  • Finding gambling helps escape problems and complicated feelings
  • Lying to friends and family to hide gambling addiction and get more money to gamble with
  • Losing perspective on finances, relationships, and loss of lifestyle because gambling is more important than anything

Treatment for Gambling Addiction

Compulsive gamblers need to decide to seek help just like those with a substance use disorder. In addition, many with a gambling addiction also have a co-occurring mental health disorder. For this reason, it is imperative to have an examination and evaluation from a healthcare provider to determine any additional diagnosis. Dual diagnosis treatment plans include cognitive-behavioral therapy to address gambling and co-occurring mental health conditions. 

Gambling addiction requires an intense treatment plan that could include medication to treat co-occurring depression or anxiety. The treatment team must address all symptoms and disorders for a successful recovery. However, cognitive-behavioral therapy resolves behavioral problems by developing healthy and positive coping mechanisms. Those with a gambling addiction must learn to identify the negative thought patterns or triggers that cause the urge to gamble. 

Find Help for Gambling Addiction or Dual Diagnosis in California

Explore the opportunities Harmony Place offers to those experiencing a gambling addiction or dual diagnosis in Los Angeles, California. Our expert treatment professionals can explain the treatment process for a gambling addiction and understand how stressful this is for the family. In addition, read testimonials from those with successful recovery experiences at our facility.

We offer evidence-based therapies for behavioral change. Visit our site to read more information and contact us today.