Any addiction, be it drug or gambling addiction is disastrous for both the addict and his family. According to statistics, over 10 million people in the USA suffer from gambling addiction.
Another statistics says that only 21% of gamblers whose condition has been assessed as addiction admit that their gambling habit is problematic. It’s a disturbing figure which indicates that about 80% of compulsive players don’t realize they have addiction issues.
Gambling is a legitimate business, and playing at top slots sites for UK players isn’t dangerous by itself. However, there is a thin line between reasonable gambling and addiction called self-control.
Gambling becomes an issue when the player cannot control the intense urge of betting and playing casino games anymore. The brain starts releasing dopamine which causes the player to feel “high” and triggers the brain’s award system.
Over time the organism develops a tolerance for the substance and demands more and more for the person to have the same euphoric feeling. And though they started with reasonable betting on online casino games, people end up becoming addicts.
It starts affecting their social and work life and relationships with friends and family. They suffer enormous financial and material losses which leads to huge debts, psychological, and other health issues.
Symptoms of Gambling Addiction
The first defining symptom of gambling addiction is playing casino games compulsively despite losing money and not receiving any bonuses or awards. Experts describe gambling addicts as people who have lost control and are incapable of stopping to play.
Here are several common symptoms of gambling addicts:
- They bet more than they can afford to lose.
- They need to increase the gambling amount every time to feel the same thrill from the game.
- They have attempted but failed to control the urge to gamble.
- After losing they usually gamble more attempting to win back the lost money.
- If they don’t have money, they borrow it or sell something valuable to get some.
- They suffer from stress or anxiety and use playing casino games to avoid it.
- They lose important relationships such as work or family because of their obsessive gambling habits.
- They start considering and even commit theft to get money to gamble.
Unlike addicts, responsible gamblers don’t risk more than they can afford to lose and don’t borrow money to gamble. They don’t chase to win back the lost money by betting even bigger amounts, and more importantly, they know when to stop.
Treatment for Gambling Addiction
Therapists have discovered that gambling addiction just like other types of behavioral addiction can be successfully treated. Addicts should go through pharmacological and psychosocial treatment which helps them restore their control and change habits. The importance of judgment-free support groups made up of recovering gambling addicts also cannot be underestimated.
Many specialized organizations, institutions, and clinics provide support, advice, and treatment for gambling addiction. Here are some of them.
The organization provides advice and help to both gambling addicts and their families. They do a great job spreading awareness about gambling addiction and its treatment at the same time encouraging safe and responsible playing.
GamCare’s helpline works 24/7 to provide immediate consulting over the phone or live chat. All the information stays confidential. Specifically trained consultants discuss available variants and treatment strategies.
National Center for Behavioral Addictions (NHS)
This institution is composed of two clinics both treating gambling disorders. The National Problem Gambling Clinic focuses on developing new treatment models and psychological therapies.
The National Centre for Gaming Disorders treats addicted gamers over 13 years old. The clinic examines the patient and conducts a comprehensive assessment of his condition. The treatment takes 12 weeks and can be done in a group or individually.
Gordon Moody Association
This charity organization helps people affected by gambling rebuild their lives and get rid of their addiction. They have 50+ years of expertise in treating addiction for casino games. They use this experience for raising awareness and helping affected individuals and their families.
For successful treatment, Gordon Moody Association has created specialized residences where patients stay during the entire course of their treatment. Here, they work closely with the therapists to discover their problems and reclaim control over their lives.
The fellowship started in 1957 when two obsessed gamblers met and decided to help each other get out of the misery they were in. Later they founded the Gamblers Anonymous movement and started helping other people in a similar condition.
Nowadays, the fellowship unites hundreds of men and women with compulsive gambling issues who want to change their lives. They can participate in the Unity or Recovery Program.
The Recovery Village
Though the center concentrates mainly on delivering comprehensive treatment for alcohol and drug, it also helps individuals with their gambling issues. The staff here believes in providing effective care to patients that entrust them with their mental health.
The Recovery Village shows an individual approach to every patient since no two cases are similar. During the treatment, the experts try to reveal the root of the addiction simultaneously treating the physical, mental, and emotional symptoms.
Self-Help Tips and Recommendations for Gambling Addicts
Merely playing casino games doesn’t make you an addict. However, if you notice the symptoms listed above, follow these tips to help yourself until you get professional help.
- Always pay your bills on time and never touch the money meant for paying the bills.
- Spend quality time with friends and family, find a new hobby, do sports.
- Don’t treat online casino games as a source of making money.
- Talk to somebody and get help.
If you aren’t the addict but you’re affected by someone’s compulsive gambling habits, try to talk and help them. Treatments are more effective when people understand their issues and commit to the treatments voluntarily.
During the whole course of treatment support from family and friends is very important. Sometimes people don’t admit their addiction because they are afraid of judgment and criticism. Hence, try not to judge strictly by deepening their stress and anxiety, and help them recover fast.