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Although it is not commonly talked about, a gambling addiction can happen to anyone.

Whether you are young or old, poor or wealthy, gambling can change from a fun, to unhealthy in the blink of an eye.

Addiction is most often associated with alcohol or drugs, but when you become addicted to betting on sports, scratch cards, roulette, poker, or slots, this problem can ruin your life.

This addiction can hurt your relationships, lead to financial problems, and hurt your relationship.

There is one answer to your gambling addiction though, and that is gambling rehab.

What is a Gambling Addiction?

Also known as pathological gambling, compulsive gambling, or gambling disorder, gambling addiction is an impulse-control disorder. When you are someone who impulsively gambles, it means you continue to gamble without control, even if it hurts you or the people around you.

You might continue to gamble whether you are happy, sad, doing well, or doing terribly. Regardless of the consequences, you will continue to gamble. Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to have a gambling problem without being completely out of control.

Gambling addiction can be any form of gambling behavior that disrupts your life. This means if you are spending more time and money on gambling than with your family, chasing your losses, or continuing to gamble despite financial troubles, you have an addiction.

What You Should Know About Gambling Addiction

There are six things that you should know about gambling addiction because there are common misconceptions about this disease.

  1. You do not have to gamble every day in order to have a gambling addiction.
  2. Even if you have money to gamble, you can still have a gambling addiction.
  3. Too much time spent on gambling leads to addiction.
  4. Even if you are strong-willed, you can easily fall into a gambling addiction.
  5. Problem gamblers often try to rationalize their behavior. You might not take responsibility for your actions, which is needed to get help for your problem.
  6. Bailing the gambler out of debt can enable gambling addictions.

Signs of a Gambling Addiction

Having a gambling addiction is often referred to as a “hidden illness”. This is because gambling addictions show no physical signs similar to those that occur in a drug or alcohol addiction. It can also be hard to see the signs of gambling addiction because unlike drugs and alcohol, gambling is legal, so you may not even recognize them in yourself!

Being Secretive

If you feel the need to be secretive about your gambling, then you may have an addiction. You might gamble in secret or lie about when you are gambling.

Losing Control

If you are having trouble controlling your gambling, meaning you can’t stop once you start, means that you will not leave until you spend the last dollar that you have.

Financial Issues

You may gamble until you have no more money, your credit cards are maxed out, and you can no longer pay your bills. This can be terrible for those with families who need to be supported. You might also borrow, steal, or sell things for gambling money.

People Close to You Have Expressed Concern

If you have family and friends worried about you, you might want to listen to them. It is never weak to ask for help.

How to Get Help For Gambling Addiction

Getting help for gambling addiction can be very difficult, but it is possible with a few methods:

  • Learn to relieve unpleasant feelings in healthier ways: If you go to gamble when you feel lonely, or if you have nothing to do, come up with a healthy hobby! Maybe you go to gamble every time you have an argument with your spouse. Stop using it to soothe, and instead, learn to manage your emotions. You can exercise, see friends who don’t gamble, or learn relaxation techniques.
  • Find a support network: When you are going through any type of addiction, it can be very difficult to do so without support. Reach out to friends and family if you can. If not, make new friends via support groups, work, joining a book club, or being a part of an education class. You can even become a volunteer to make new and wholesome friends.
  • Join a support group: You can find 12-step support groups such as Gamblers Anonymous, which can be very helpful. This is similar to the well-known group Alcoholics Anonymous. The most important part of this group is to find a sponsor who can give you guidance and support.
  • Seek help for any co-occurring underlying disorders: This might include depression, stress, anxiety, or even substance abuse.

Mental Illness and Gambling Struggles

When you struggle with a mental illness or substance abuse problem at the same time as gambling addiction, this is considered a dual diagnosis. In fact, gambling abuse is often associated with mood disorders or substance abuse.

This might include ADHD, depression, anxiety, panic disorders, stress, or bipolar disorder. In order to become free from your gambling problems, you will need to address your co-occurring disorders and any other underlying causes as well.

Alternatives to Gambling

If you are working to overcome gambling abuse, there are many alternatives that you can choose from, including the below:

  • When you want a rush of adrenaline, try engaging in a fast-paced sport, such as mountain biking, rock climbing, white water rafting, or go-kart racing.
  • If you are shy and want to be more social, try counseling. You could also enroll in a public speaking class or join a social group.
  • When you feel sad, numb, or negative feelings, try therapy to work through your troubles.
  • To cure boredom or loneliness, you can find a passion. Choose to learn about interests such as art, sports, books, music, or something else.
  • Relax after a stressful day at work by taking part in meditation, enjoying a massage, or practicing deep breathing exercises.
  • If you have money problems, the last thing you want to go do is gamble. Instead, look for help from a credit counselor.

Why is Gambling so Hard to Quit?

Most of the time it is not quitting that is the challenge, but the difficulty comes when you are trying to stay away from the lifestyle of gambling. It is very easy to gamble on the internet, meaning your phone, the computer, and any other internet access is a place that you can easily relapse.

Despite all of these easy accesses to gambling, it is still possible to get help for your addiction. Try to surround yourself with people who will hold you accountable. You need to be around people who may be willing to control your finances and help you find healthy activities to spend your time on.

We Can Help

When struggling with a gambling addiction, it can feel like you are powerless.

Despite this, there are many things you can do to get through your addiction.

Instead, you can work to repair your relationships and finances, and regain control of your life.

At Resurgence Behavioral Health we offer many programs that can help you do just that.

Contact us today to learn about our free insurance verification for treatment.

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Individualized treatment programs delivered in a comfortable, relaxed setting promote healing in your recovery journey.

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