Compulsive gambling, also known as gambling addiction or gambling disorder, is a condition that affects approximately 10 million Americans. It can form for any form of gambling, from poker to sports betting to slot machines and more. If you believe you have a gambling addiction, there are treatments available for you. Let’s take a look at what compulsive gambling is and how gambling addiction treatment works.
Symptoms of Gambling Addiction
The symptoms of gambling addiction vary based on the severity of the addiction and the type of gambling a person is drawn to. Here are some of the most common symptoms:
- Persistently increasing the amount of time and money spent on gambling
- Feeling irritable or restless when you are unable to gamble
- Taking out loans or credit cards to pay for gambling
- Skipping work or important events to gamble
- Using gambling as a coping mechanism for depression or anxiety
- Constantly finding new ways to get gambling money
- Stealing money from others to gamble
- Lying about your gambling habits
- Gambling as a way to make up for previous gambling losses
- Not paying bills to have gambling money
As the name suggests, compulsive gambling typically involves a “compulsion.” You feel an uncontrollable urge to go to the casino, contact a broker, play an online betting game, etc. With gambling addiction treatment, you can learn how to control those urges and stop this downward trajectory.
The Dangers of Compulsive Gambling
Most resources warn of the financial dangers of compulsive gambling, but there are also mental health issues to worry about. Addictive behaviors often lead to more addictive behaviors. Even if you can afford to gamble at your current pace, the addictive mentality could lead to drug or alcohol abuse.
Gambling addiction can quickly spiral out of control. The desire to gamble increases with every win, and the desire for revival grows with every loss. You may not realize you’re in the cycle until it is out of your hands. That is a primary danger of compulsive gambling – its unpredictable nature.
Finally, the symptoms of gambling addiction have a tendency to ruin relationships. Lies and financial stress can break even the strongest of couples apart. Friends may distance themselves from you if they notice a pattern of unhealthy behaviors. This will push you into social isolation, which will only make the gambling addiction more prevalent.
How to Find Gambling Addiction Treatment
Gambling addiction treatment is best completed through therapy. A licensed therapist will help you find the root cause of your gambling addiction, along with underlying issues that contribute to the behaviors. You may be dealing with depression, anxiety, stress management issues, other addictions, trauma recovery, or any number of conditions. Your therapist will help you uncover those issues and find solutions for every one of them.
For more information about compulsive gambling treatment or other addiction treatment services, contact Heron Ridge Associates at (734) 454-3560.