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  • Signs, Causes, and Effects of Gambling Addiction Revealed

    Gambling generally means staking something of value, usually money with the hope of winning added value provided a desirable outcome occurs. Gambling, in recent times, has taken on a universal look as virtual anything that has variable outcomes can be used to gamble.

    Signs, Causes and Effects of Gambling Addiction

    These things include sport mostly and races and boxing etc. All these gambling avenues have been made easily accessible due to the advent of online gambling. Addiction to this activity is something that has become widespread among those that participate.

    What is Gambling Addiction?

    Gambling addiction is an impulse control disorder which makes the sufferer unable to resist the urge to gamble despite serious consequences to the gambler and others close to the gambler. It is such that, winning or losing does not actually sate the need to gamble. If the gambler loses, he simply justifies gambling again as wanting to regain the money. If the gambler wins, then he wishes to ride his luck and win even more.

    Gambling addiction, or pathological gambling, is an impulse control disorder that gives the addict a strong urge to gamble in spite of its negative effects on the gambler and their loved ones. This psychiatric disorder exhibits similar symptoms and features to those of psychotropic drug addiction.

    Even though gambling addiction has been around for a very long time, it wasn’t until 1980 before it became officially classified as a psychiatric disorder. Gambling addiction, also known as “problem gambling” was termed “pathological gambling” and was classified as an impulse control disorder similar to disorders like kleptomania and pyromania. However, recently after having been studied more closely, it was renamed “gambling disorder” and classified as a substance-related and addictive disorder in 2013. Gambling addiction exhibits similar symptoms and features as addictions that involve psychotropic drugs. It has now been classified in the same category as drug and alcohol addiction. This only goes to show how serious gambling addiction is and how seriously it should be taken.

    This vice, unlike other types of addiction, is the easiest route to financial ruin because there is always a stage big enough to stake everything the gambler possesses on. There’s even enough room to accommodate whatever the gambler can borrow from friends, family or elsewhere. The overwhelming odds are against the gambler all the time but this doesn’t deter him because of the tantalizing returns that are possible and are constantly being dangled in front of him like a carrot to a donkey.

    Signs of Gambling Addiction

    Gambling addiction is not just a single monolithic condition. There are many ranges of the spectrum. However, for someone to be said to be addicted to gambling, he must exhibit some certain traits, characteristics, and signs of gambling addiction. New members of Gambling Anonymous sessions are usually asked a series of 20 questions and those that answer yes to 7 or more of these questions are generally considered to be gambling addicts or to have a gambling problem.

    These questions take the form of the following:

    • Does stress trigger your urge to gamble?
    • Has gambling affected your drive and aspirations?
    • Has gambling affected your personal life negatively?
    • Has gambling ever affected your wellbeing or that of your dependents?
    • Has your reputation been damaged as a result of gambling?
    • Have you ever been tempted to steal or do something illegal to finance your gambling?
    • Have you ever borrowed money in order to gamble?
    • Have you ever felt like gambling was a good way to celebrate?
    • Have you ever felt remorseful after gambling?
    • Have you ever gambled and lost to the point you had nothing to bet with anymore?
    • Have you ever gambled as a sort of escape mechanism from your mundane life?
    • Have you ever gambled for longer than initially planned?
    • Have you ever gambled in order to win money to pay your bills or debts?
    • Have you ever gambled while you were supposed to be at work?
    • Have you ever lost sleep due to gambling?
    • Have you ever set aside some money as money for gambling?
    • Have you ever sold your belongings in order to gamble?
    • Have you ever thought about the financial ruin your gambling may cause you?
    • When you lose, do you feel compelled to gamble again to win your losses back?
    • When you win, do you know when to quit or you keep gambling till you lose again?

    Causes of Gambling Addiction

    How do people become addicted to gambling?

    People become addicted to gambling for various reasons, including:

    • To feel an adrenaline rush when taking extreme risks
    • For socialization and having fun
    • For the challenge
    • To escape loneliness
    • To address specific financial problems

    Gambling addiction is a condition that can result from a desire to gamble and thus, the causes of gambling addiction are basically the same reasons as those for gambling in general. People gamble for vastly different reasons. It’s not always simply about winning money or the like and some people simply gamble for fun and it doesn’t really matter whether they win or lose.

    Some of the reasons why people gamble are:

    • To get that adrenaline rush that comes with taking extreme risks.
    • As a means of socializing with other people or just for the fun of it.
    • For the challenge. Some people enjoy being tasked with the objective of beating the house or to display their skill.
    • As a means of escape from the drudgery of life or loneliness.
    • To address specific financial problems. Sometimes, gambling seems like the last resort to tackle pressing financial issues.

    These and possibly more reasons are why people gamble. The individual suffering from compulsive gambling usually tries to relive an experience to the point that the gambling becomes obsessive.

    Effects of Gambling Addiction

    What does gambling addiction occur?

    Gambling addiction occurs in three phases:

    The winning phase – continuing to gamble after winning because of the perception of a winning streak
    The losing phase – continuing to gamble after losing to earn back money
    The desperation phase – taking irrational risks in hope for a big win that will offset all previous losses

    In the winning phase, the gambler usually wins big and then starts to have a skewed perception of his chances which emboldens him to continue gambling. This phase is exploited by gambling organizations as they often offer new gamblers very enticing odds of winning just to get them hooked.

    In the losing phase, the gambler starts to lose money and lose so much that previous winnings along with other funds get depleted. The gambler, however, continues to gamble, believing he will recapture the initial lucky break that won him so much at the beginning. However, this never happens except occasionally and the gambler invariably goes back to losing.

    The last phase, the desperation phase, is where time seems to be running out and the gambler begins to take even more irrational risks hoping for a big win that will offset all the losses incurred thus far. By this time, the gambler would have dragged people that are close to him into his vortex of financial loss and finally, the gambler hits rock bottom.

    Compulsive gambling affects not only the gambler but people around him such as the spouse, the children or dependents, their relatives, their employer, their employees, and the community at large.

    Since gambling addiction depletes finances, chances are that the addict will seek funds by any means necessary when he is broke leading to bad debts and other financial consequences. Some addicts go as far as committing crimes and fraudulent activities all in order to continue gambling. Some others lose their jobs from actions directly related to their gambling. After losing everything, someone suffering from compulsive gambling may start to entertain suicidal thoughts or turn to drinking to alleviate the feelings of guilt, shame, and depression.

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