The Effects of Problem Gambling on Daily Life

Are you or someone you know struggling with a gambling problem? Problem gambling is described as any form of gambling which negatively impacts a person’s quality of life. What might begin as a fun and casual pastime can develop into a very serious addiction. Along the way, relationships, careers, and important relationships can fall to the wayside as the problematic gambler continues on their course, sometimes not even realizing the chaos their decisions are wrecking on their life.
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Published on: 6 February 2020

Gambling addiction is described as an impulsive control disorder. This means that the compulsive gambler is unable to control their impulse to gamble even though they may have already begun to experience the negative consequences of their addiction. A problem gambler keeps playing even as the odds stack ever higher and higher against them, despite losing nearly everything that was once important, gambling becomes the most important aspect of the person’s life.

There are some unmistakable signs of gambling addiction. Gambling disorders can affect people from all walks of life with varying degrees of severity. What links all compulsive gambling disorders, however, is the fact that the individuals living through them are unable to take control of their lives. If you are worried about your gambling, then have a read of our responsible gambling page for advice.

Effects of Problem Gambling: Signs of a Problem

Gambling is a problem if it causes negative consequences in a person’s life. While it may take a licensed mental health provider to adequately diagnose a compulsive gambling addiction, there are some signs of a potential problem that are worth being aware of.

Being unable to say no to gambling opportunities. If you or someone you love is unable to walk away from chances to gamble, this could be a sign of serious problematic gambling. Responsible gambling means understanding that there are things in life more important than placing bets in hopes of winning prizes. If you are unable to say no or stop gambling when your life requires it, you should consider scheduling an appointment with a mental health service provider or your family doctor.

Being secretive about gambling activities, debts, or interests. If you are constantly trying to hide your gambling from others, this could be a sign of a very serious compulsive gambling problem. Healthy gamblers are able to discuss their habits with those they love. If you are constantly trying to hide your gambling from your family or employer, you might want to consider getting help for your problem.

Being unable to walk away from gambling. If you know your gambling is causing financial, behavioral, or emotional problems in your life but you can’t simply walk away, you might be dealing with an impulsive control disorder. Responsible gamblers don’t risk losing the last of the money they have. They also don’t go steeply into debt to try to win back lost prize money.

Being unsure of where to turn to for help with your gambling. Sometimes when we are facing challenging times in our lives, it can be tough to know where to go, or who to open up to. The most important thing for you to know is that there are resources, out in your own local community that can help you deal with your problem gambling. Don’t struggle alone. The help you need is a short email or a phone call away.

Compulsive Gambling: What You Need to Know

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Now that you have a better idea of some of the effects of problem gambling, there are some things you need to know.

For starters, if you or someone you love is an addictive gambler, you are not alone. Your family is not the first family to deal with this, but that’s a good thing because it means that there is expertise and support that you can lean on to help you through this challenging time.

Gambling disorders have been studied extensively in the medical research literature. There are evidence-based solutions out there that can help your family take control of problematic gambling. Understanding the signs of addiction and being open to getting help are the first steps towards recovering from problem gambling.

To take better control of your gambling, consider trying out the following methods:

  • Seek the support of a medical professional Many people who suffer from gambling addiction have other occurring mental health disorders or addictive tendencies. Only a medical professional can diagnose and treat the root causes of these problems. Look for a doctor who specializes in treating compulsive control disorders, gambling addiction, or changing problematic habits.
  • Seek to strengthen your memories of negative gambling. One of the reasons people continue to gamble even though it is causing problems in their lives is because they do not have strong enough memories of how negative things have gotten from gambling in the past. Exercises such as writing or sketching negative experiences can help to strengthen your resolve not to relive these past traumas. Telling your negative gambling stories to loved ones can also help to create a foundation and network of support.
  • Seek out the support of a community. One of the most beneficial ways to deal with addiction can be to find the support of individuals with a similar lived experience. In your community or online, there are many groups for individuals and families living with problematic gambling issues. These friendly and supportive communities can help you find the support you need to take control.
  • Seek out new hobbies and activities to fill your time. It is not simply enough to take away one part of our lives that we devoted a great deal of time and energy towards. We must also fill the space in our lives with a new, safer, and healthier alternative. It could be a great time to seek out some new friends, hobbies, and opportunities for relaxation and recreation that do not involve gambling.

A Brighter Tomorrow Starts Today

Problematic gambling is something that you or your family can overcome. Your brighter tomorrow begins with healthy choices today. Taking control of your compulsive gambling can help you to better enjoy your life and be a more productive member of society.

Some gambling addicts are unable to ever gamble again for fear that they will relapse back into the behaviors which caused so much pain in the past. Others are able to restore the balance of their lives and continue to gamble but in a much safer and more responsible way.

The effects of problem gambling can be very severe, but that doesn’t mean they have to last forever. Start to take control of your life and you can shape the type of future you want to live. Even the most challenging stories in our lives can lead to happier times and brighter tomorrows.

As challenging as things might be right now, don’t forget that with a little help, things can and will rapidly improve. The support and assistance that you need to overcome your problematic gambling behavior is out there. Build a more stable foundation and take control of your life. For help with problem gambling or its effects, we recommend that you turn to GamCare.

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