Gambling addiction is a problem that quickly overwhelms it’s sufferer. Offering what feels like the path to escape, but only digging us deeper, most addicts find out they have a problem only after the loss of thousands.
If you suspect that you or someone you know is suffering from a gambling addiction, it can be tough to determine definitively if a gambling habit constitutes a problem. Capital Choice Counselling is here to help with out list, the 10 signs of gambling addiction:
1. Lying to Self and Others
Addicts are professional liars. Not because they’re immoral people, but because their identity demands self-deception in order to continue accessing their high of choice.
“I don’t have a problem”, “I can quit any time I want”, are so ubiquitous amongst addicts that they are almost slogans!
Gambling addicts recognize that their behaviour is not normal, but depend on gambling to control their state of mind. To admit they should reconsider their behaviour is to consider facing life without psychological protection, and to be completely exposed to the emotional suffering much of their life is dedicated to avoiding.
Gambling addicts will lie to people who expose them to this possibility. If you question why they’re always at the casino, they begin to question why they’re always at the casino. This thought process goes somewhere they don’t want to go, and so moving forward they will try to hide the fact that they spend so much time there. This way, they can ‘enjoy’ their time without the self-reflection that brings them the very anxiety they are at the casino to avoid.
2. Chasing Losses
Gambling does some very bad things to the human mind.
When the chips are down, so is our state of mind. When they’re up, so are we!
Gambling addicts go down much further than recreational gamblers, and start to claim to themselves and others that once they win back their losses, they’ll stop. They come to the casino to feel better, and cannot walk out feeling worse than when they walked in.
Of course, if they do get their losses back, the elation they feel predictably leads to a string of self-justifying rationalizations to keep playing. “I’m on a roll”, “This table is hot!”, etc. The addict will play and play and play, despite committing to walking away.
3. Borrowing Money To Gamble
When they exhaust their own accounts, they turn to others, just as any substance abuser would.
It starts with credit cards, but those get maxed out quickly. That credit line earmarked for a rainy day? Gone.
Once non-public means are exhausted, they turn to family and friends, but. As their need grows, it begins to erode their dignity and they turn to coworkers and even strangers.
4. Always Upping Stakes
All addicts, from gambling addicts to sex addicts to heroin addicts, escalate their dose over time in order to access the high they’re chasing.
Gambling addicts do it by betting more and more and more. Seeking a more powerful means to get out of the psychological pit they’ve dug, they only dig themselves deeper because the more they bet, the more they lose.
he beginning of an addiction problem is compulsion. Everyone is now and again compelled to indulge in behaviour and substances that can become addictive, but upon satiating that compulsion they can move on.
Addicts start by being compelled, but this compulsion builds and matures into obsession.
A gambling addict thinks of little else but gambling. If they aren’t gambling right now, they’re thinking of the last time they were, or the next time they will.
Any reason, no matter how tenuous, is reason enough to hit the casino. No strategy is off-limits to get the cash they need to access the high they depend on.
6. Incapable of Stopping
There’s a popular quote among addicts:
“Quitting X is easy! I’ve done it a thousand times!”
Addicts don’t want to be addicts, and the same is true of pathological gamblers.
They know they shouldn’t gamble. They try and quit again and again, but the urge to play consistently overwhelms them.
7. Gambling Out Of Need
Gambling addicts suffer from withdrawal much like any other addict. While not as physiologically severe as many substance addictions, the experience of psychological withdrawl is no less significant.
Irritability, agitation, impatience, and anxiety plague a gambling addict who has not had an adequate ‘dose’ of gambling.
8. Gambling as Self-Medication
All addictions are a means of self-medication. Gambling, alcohol, sex; all serve to distract, relax, and help us forget about our problems for awhile.
These are all perfectly healthy indulgences when used in moderation, but addicts use them differently. Instead of enjoying them, an addict depends on them, gambling not to add a little enjoyment to their life, but to desperately subtract suffering.
9. Stealing, Defrauding, Deceiving
All addictions erode dignity.
Despite losing their money, the banks money, and that of friends and family; an addicts problem still demands to be fed.
To fund their habit and solve their problems by hitting the jackpot they ‘know’ is coming, they turn to immoral sources to fund their problem.
Insurance fraud, credit card fraud, outright theft; no potential source of money is off-limits to the advanced gambling addict if they can see a way to access it.
10. Gambling is an Exclusive Priority
Gambling addiction is a slippery slope that can turn into a cliff before you even know you’re falling.
They become so focused on the dream of winning their losses back that they dig deeper and deeper and deeper into a financial, social, and professional hole.
The further down they get, the more they want out, and the less they are capable of turning their attention to anything else. Relationships, life goals, careers, family; all these things become secondary and unimportant as the problem grows.
What To Do About Gambling Addiction
Gambling addicts dig themselves into a hole at what feels like light-speed, so they dream of getting out of it just as fast.
Problematically, it’s this expectation that they should be able to solve their problems quickly that is largely responsible for where they are.
There is no rocket-ship out of the hole gambling addicts dig themselves into, but there is a way out.
You have to climb.
It is likely among the most difficult things a gambling addict will ever have to do. But they don’t have to do it alone.
To find out how you, or someone you love, can find their way out of a gambling problem, Capital Choice Can Help.