Gambling addiction if untreated or undiagnosed can become a serious issue for a person which will affect their private and work life. Gambling addiction has been on the increase in countries such as America and Australia in recent times, and we hope we can prevent it from becoming an issue in Canada! Online gambling problems can destroy a family and ruin their financial stability. Carry on reading for more information on how to recognise and treat this serious illness.
WHAT IS GAMBLING ADDICTION?
Medically speaking, gambling addiction has the same characteristics as any other impulse control disorders. Essentially a person is unable to control their actions or ability to stop doing something, even when they know that activity is detrimental to themselves. Other impulse control disorders include drug abuse, eating disorders, or shopping disorders.
What is interesting to note is there are several classifications of disorders. Some are more severe than others, and it depends on the disorder itself to see how one can treat it. There is also evidence which suggests men and women react differently to different disorders. Below we have listed the three most common gambling addictions:
This is the most common and easily recognisable form of gambling addiction, and possibly the most destructive as well. People who are diagnosed with compulsive gambling are unable to stop themselves from gambling and will continue gambling chasing a big win. Often when they are chasing that elusive win they will sink massive sums of money into it, which they simply cannot afford. A compulsive gambler is known to wager their rent or car payments, or even their daily food allowance. Even though they are aware how much damage they are causing to themselves and their families, they are unable to stop themselves from continuing to gamble.
Binge gamblers are exactly the same as compulsive gamblers, however, they only gamble in sporadic bursts and not as regularly. A binge gambler could go weeks or months without gambling, and then suddenly in one night sit down and blow a small fortune on gambling.
Problem gamblers are the least severe of the addictions mentioned to date. In fact, many gamblers online could be classified as being mild problem gamblers. These players are not completely addicted to gambling, and typically chase their losses trying to recover their bankrolls. Often with problem gamblers, you will find they lie to their loved ones about how much they have spent or whether or no they gamble at all. If unchecked problem gamblers can become compulsive gamblers.
HOW WIDESPREAD IS GAMBLING ADDICTION?
The good news is that problem gambling is not much of an issue in Canada as yet. Over 75% of the Canadian population gambled in some form or another over the last year, and only 3% suffer from a gambling problem. This rate is similar to the occurrence of alcoholism in Canada. As long as the problem can be identified quickly, it can be treated and resolved. If you feel yourself becoming addicted to online gambling why not try play for free without risking real money? This may help you reduce the damage a gambling addiction can cause.
LEARNING TO IDENTIFY A GAMBLING PROBLEM
Being able to identify a problem gambler is very important whether it is a friend, family member, or even yourself. Sometimes it is not easy to see the signs, and they can be quite easy to hide from loved ones. The following list should help you to identify a few signs which might mean someone or yourself, has a gambling problem. If you see any of the below-listed signs, please seek help as soon as possible.
- A person will feel annoyed or anxious when not currently gambling, or are trying to stop gambling or cut back.
- Chasing losses regardless of the cost is something all problem gamblers do.
- If a person thinks about gambling at all times of the day and thinks about when next they can gamble.
- Gambling is used to escape real world problems instead of being fun and relaxing.
- Lies are told to hide gambling or losses from loved ones.
- Someone who needs to make bigger wagers at higher risks to feel the same thrills they used to feel on smaller wagers.
- May ask family and friends for money or help to turn around some big losses.
- If a person turns to criminal activity to help fund their addiction.
- Someone who has tried in vain to stop gambling, and keeps going back.
If you or someone you know has more than one of these symptoms, seek help immediately. Be sure to contact the various help organisations who can help you through support websites or hotlines for counselling.