What Is Gambling Addiction?
For many people, gambling is harmless fun, but it can become a problem. This type of compulsive behaviour is often called “problem gambling
A gambling addiction is a progressive addiction that can have many negative psychological, physical, and social repercussions. It is classed as an impulse-control disorder.
Problem gambling is harmful to psychological and physical health. People who live with this addiction may experience depression, migraines, distress, intestinal disorders, and other anxiety-related problems.
As with all addictions, the consequences of gambling can lead to feelings of despondency and helplessness. In some cases, this can lead to attempts at suicide.
Gambling addiction is a serious issue in Australia, where Australians gamble more than any other nation in the world. A reasonable estimate is that 1% of the adult population satisfies clinical criteria for a problem gambling diagnosis and that a further 4% are at significant risk. Gambling addiction affects people from different income levels and employment statuses, but almost half of Australians working full-time jobs are regular gamblers.
Because of its harmful consequences, gambling addiction has become a significant public health concern in many countries.
People with addictions often try to hide their condition, but a gambling addiction can be difficult to conceal. Individuals may need frequent access to casinos or online gambling pools. Even if they gamble at home when no one is around, their addiction may begin to show itself in other areas of life.
If you or someone you know has a gambling addiction, these are some of the types of behaviours that can be displayed:
- obsessing over any type of gambling
- gambling to feel better about life
- failing to control your gambling
- avoiding work or other commitments to gamble
- neglecting bills and expenses and using the money for gambling
- selling possessions to gamble
- stealing money to gamble
- lying about your gambling habit
- feeling guilty after a gambling session
- taking bigger and bigger risks while gambling
You may also experience the following consequences from your gambling addiction:
- disintegrating relationships or friendships
- loss of house, job, car, or other personal possessions
People with gambling addiction don’t always gamble frequently. But when they do start gambling, they may be unable to stop.
What causes gambling addiction?
When you have a gambling addiction, an area of your brain called the insula may be overactive. This hyperactive region may lead to distorted thinking. This can cause you to see patterns in random sequences and continue gambling after near misses.
Your brain may respond to the act of gambling in the same way that an alcoholic’s brain responds to a drink. The more you feed your habit, the worse it will become.
How is gambling addiction treated?
With the right treatment, gambling addiction is manageable. Unlike someone with a food addiction, you don’t need the object of your addiction to survive. You simply need to learn how to develop a healthy and balanced relationship with money.
It’s important for you to quit gambling completely since even occasional gambling can lead to a relapse. A program of recovery can help you develop impulse control. In general, gambling addiction is treated with similar methods as other addictions.
What support resources are available?
If you suspect you or someone you love has a gambling addiction, book with us at Alegna Solutions Psychology Practice, we can help you or your loved one find the way back onto the path that is addiction-free, secure and more life-orientated.
What is the outlook for gambling addiction?
Like any addiction, compulsive gambling can be difficult to stop. You may find it embarrassing to admit that you have a problem, especially since many people gamble socially without developing an addiction. Overcoming the shame or embarrassment that you feel will be a big step on the road to recovery.
Alegna Solutions Psychology Practice will be able to help you overcome your gambling addiction. If you don’t treat your gambling problem, it can lead to serious financial issues. It can also negatively affect your relationships with family members, friends, and others. Effective treatment can help you avoid these consequences and mend your relationships through recovery. So contact us for a better life that’s free from gambling addiction.