If you are reading this article is because you or a significant other is getting in distress with its gambling. Like substances abuse, unhealthy relationships and binge porn, compulsive gambling is only fuel for a more severe and complex issue that lies beneath our skin that has exploded with financial, social and even health consequences.
Although spending too much money and time are the most common red flags for compulsive gambling, there are other signals that can alert us about a gambling problem. Many websites and online casinos have plans to help reduce issues and help players with their addiction, and there are many casinos not on Gamstop that have regulations to make the experience safe and fun. All of this is not about putting a finger over someone, is about providing help to a person in need.
Some signals might be obvious, others are a bit more subtle, yet, the key is to understand that any derailing from a person’s natural behaviour is a call for an intervention.
- Chasing losses compulsively. Nobody likes to lose, especially money. But if we need to spend x5 times to recover our previous lost, is time to make a stop.
- Spends even longer time gambling. Because our brain creates a tolerance to the gambling stimulation, addicts get completely immersed in their activity for hours, even days for online players, as they need more exposure to gambling to achieve the same level of pleasure.
- Aggressiveness. Compulsive gamblers will turn very irritable and even physically aggressive when asked or confronted directly about their gambling and any related topic, especially money and time.
- Neglecting of work/family. Gambling addicts have narrowed their focus and completely changed priorities in order to keep gambling as much as they can. Common signs are: low work performance, lack of involvement in family activities, long absences with evasive explanations.
- Destructive behaviour. Like many substance addicts, pathologic gamblers will do anything in order to get their fix. Overworking, getting in debt, lying, even steal or partake in other shady activities that put themselves at risk, are signs that demand immediate intervention.
- Denial of reality. As the compulsive disorders further, gambling addicts firmly believe that they have control over the situation, even if they hit rock bottom. For them, gambling has become their shelter no matter how much damage it has caused to them.
- Sense of no escape. On the other hand, gambling addicts who thrive with their condition will have feelings of guilt, remorse, even despair as their compulsive behaviour drags them to the same vicious circle over and over.
Once the gambling disorder is recognized by either party, is important to seek help at once. The following list provides effective solutions that combined will bring greater results.
Putting a wall between ourselves and gambling can be hard as online gambling sites have a very strong presence. Fortunately, responsible gambling companies allow customers to self-exclude from access in order to cool down their urges.
Furthermore, the UK Gambling Commission has created a scheme that allows addicts to self-exclude themselves from all the gambling sites that have joined the scheme even if they don’t have an account.
For ironclad self-exclusion, apps like Gamblock, Gamban and BetFilter are designed to filter Gamstop free casinos and help people to achieve a normal life without fear of relapsing.
Depending on the needs of a gambling addict, therapy can be divided into three types:
- Cognitive therapy. Unlike substance abuse, that creates physical dependence, compulsive disorders like gambling addiction are completely a psychological issue and can only be treated, not “cured”. However, through a mental health professional, patients can identify the triggers behind their compulsive behaviour and learn to break their destructive patterns.
- Group therapy. Anonymous Gamblers and similar associations use a step-by-step program (like the 12-step program of Anonymous Alcoholics) in order to help gambling addicts to recover control of their life. Under the guidance of a mentor, individual progress is supervised, while the presence of group members with similar stories provides a strong bonding that reinforces the progress and lessens the chances of relapsing.
- Residential treatment therapy. For people with severe pathologies or that want a quick recovery, residential treatment therapy provides a safe environment to help patients focus on their recovery. Medical presence is available on a 24/7 basis so patients have concurrent supervision and treatment over them.
- Medical attention. Gambling addiction can be a symptom of compulsive disorder, anxiety or depression, all conditions that can be treated with prescription medication. On the other hand, side effects from certain medications can induce compulsive behaviour that can worsen with gambling. In both cases, visit your medic who will provide the best guidelines for this condition.