What are signs of gambling addiction?
Some questions to consider…
Did you ever lose time from work or school due to gambling?
Has gambling ever made your home life unhappy?
Have you felt remorse after gambling?
After losing, did you feel you must return as soon as possible to win back your losses?
After a win, did you have a strong urge to return and win more?
Did you often gamble until your last dollar was gone?
Did you ever borrow to finance your gambling?
Did gambling ever jeopardize the welfare of your family?
Did you ever gambled longer than you had planned?
Does gambling cause you to have difficulty sleeping?
Have you ever sold anything to finance your gambling?
How to resolve the problem
In order to stabilize, and stop “carrying on your secret love affair,” it’s usually necessary to reach out for help, support, attend GA meetings and work individually with an addiction specialist.
Demographics of those with gambling problems
Hundreds of billions of dollars are lost by people all over the world across all races, genders, socio-economic stratas. The is no specific compulsive gambling profile.
Different types of compulsive gambling: sports gambling with a bookie or online; cards, i.e. poker, black jack; dice, i.e. craps; horses; stock market.
How to prevent or stop it
If you answer ‘yes’ to two or more of the above questions, it’s likely you are a compulsive gambler. One of the implications of being a compulsive gambler is that you have lost control and that you will never be able to gamble again without putting yourself and family at risk of destructive consequences.
Stopping – going “cold turkey” or preventing it (sustained abstinence) can only be achieved if and when you seek help by attending GA meetings or seeking outpatient treatment with an addiction specialist.
Why is gambling addicting to so many people?
The Relationship Model of Addiction…(from my book To Relieve the Pain, Demystifying Addiction)
Compulsive gambling can be likened to “carrying on a secret love affair” — there is a rush, a high, excitement and escape and relief. Addiction, whether to substances or activities is a relationship with a source or means of relief of pent-up pain from unmet emotional needs sourced in your family of origin as well current relationships…the underlying driving force is the need to relieve the pain. Consider emotional pain to be commensurate with physical pain.
Why do they feel they have to continue after a big win or loss?
When compulsive gamblers lose, the are known to “chase” (continue to bet and increase the amount of their bets) in order to recoup the losses or get even. Chasing losses leads losing mare than h/she can afford to lose and borrowing money in an effort to get even.
Winning is the rush that is sought after, which doesn’t end at the point of winning. Winning usually accompanies a temporary shift in self-feeling as the high brings about a sense of power and ability, which serves to compensate for an underlying sense of inadequacy. The need to relieve pain can and often is an insatiable need. Addiction is a vicious cycle as the amount of pain tends to increase over time as will the compulsion to gamble — after winning there is a crash which is (temporally) relieved by continued gambling, which will inevitably be followed by another crash and an even stronger need for escape.
Daniel Linder MFT, MU 17435
Fast Addiction, Recovery CEU’s http://www.relationshipvision.com