Like alcoholics, gambling addicts are known to deny their problem, sneak around, and lie about where they’ve been and what they’ve been doing. But unlike alcoholics, they show no obvious physical signs that expose the truth. This creates an extra challenge for friends and family. Compulsive gambling takes a tremendous financial toll on families and creates a devastating sense of sense guilt and hopelessness in the addict.
– keep your gambling habits a secret? You lie about how much you gamble, feeling as though others won’t understand, or that you are going to surprise them with a big win anyway.
– gamble to feel better? After a long, stressful day of work, you gamble to let loose and to experience a refreshing—albeit empty—sense of hopefulness. The gambling table is a nice social scene. It takes your mind off your problems, though, in reality, your recurring unpleasant feelings—stress, depression, loneliness, fear, anxiety—are only being made worse.
– have trouble putting on the brakes? Once you start gambling, you can’t walk away. You need to win that money back, so you up your bets until your last dollar is gone.
– gamble even when you’re broke? You become desperate to recoup your losses; once your spending money is gone, you start dipping into your funds for bills, credit cards, or even expenses your children. You may borrow money, sell things, or even steal in order to continue gambling, because you know that you will get the money back, you will make it out of the hole.
– distressing your family and friends? They are beginning to suspect that your “hobby” is getting out of control. Maybe they’re worried; maybe they’re mad. Either way, they can tell something is wrong, something that affects them greatly.
Seeking help for any addiction can feel shameful, and gambling can be the worst of all. It tends to affect mostly the older generation, those responsible for the finances of their children; admitting even to themselves that they’ve put this in jeopardy is rough, because there is a lot of pressure and expectation in this society to be a responsible provider.
Still, gambling addiction is a disease, recognized fully in the world of psychiatry and medicine. Help is out there. The key is correcting the unhealthy behaviors, thoughts, and rationalizations that keep you coming back to the casino.
Talk to your doctor about cognitive-behavioral therapy therapy, and consider joining a support group such as gamblers anonymous to establish a healthy, unwavering support system.
For further information on getting help for a gambling addiction, explore our website or give us a call at (866)-577-6868.
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