How Dangerous is Developing a Gambling Addiction? Are There Ways to Gamble Safely?
Even though gambling is often perceived as a socially acceptable behavior, gambling addiction can undeniably be catastrophic for one’s life. It can deteriorate your personal relationships, financial standing, friendships, and mental health.
Whilst the specific nature of a person’s gambling can vary significantly from person to person and still not accurately reflect a pattern of addiction, there are specific indicators that you should look out for. Similarly to most addictions, significant red flags emerge when persons are unable to control their behaviour, even upon discovering that such behaviour is directly impugning their character, or negatively affecting their financial, legal or social standing.
This article will take a dive into the relevant data and explore the most commonly acknowledged signs that persons should look out for if they are worried about possibly developing a gambling addiction, the possible solutions in such cases, and the recommended ways of betting safely so as to ensure an addiction does not develop in the future.
Gambling Addiction: What are the Symptoms?
As briefly indicated above, a significant proportion of gambling addiction symptoms are similar to those of other addictions. These include an inability to secure control over oneself even when faced with the negative consequences of one’s actions.
Persons with addictions usually tend to hide their deteriorating condition; with gambling, this can seldom be done successfully, as it is in fact extremely tough to conceal on a day-to-day basis.
Typical behaviours that are indicative of a growing gambling addiction can include:
- Utilizing gambling as a way to feel better about your life
- Skipping work or avoiding any other commitments in order to gamble,
- Having an obsessive and uncontrollable personality in relation to gambling,
- Lacking self-control in relation to gambling- including omitting to pay personal bills and mandated expenses so as to use that money to gamble,
- Selling your belongings or stealing capital so as to allow you to increase your gambling spendings,
- Having a growing feeling of guilt or shame in relation to your gambling habits (this is often associated with an increased need to lie to your close friends and relatives), and
- Showing a consistent pattern of constantly upping your gambling risks.
Moreover, persons with severe gambling addictions commonly experience a plethora of other consequences, such as a severely deteriorated social standing with their friends, a severe monetary loss (such as a job, car or a house), and an inability to stop gambling once beginning.
What Causes a Gambling Addiction?
Regardless of the significant downsides of developing a gambling addiction, it should be duly noted that this affects an extremely marginal percentage of the population (around 2%), and so consequently is unlikely to affect the vast majority of persons wishing to bet online so long as they take reasonable steps to prevent the cultivation of unhealthy habits.
Furthermore, as a gambling addiction is suspected to be a result of an area of your brain (known as the insula) being overactive- and consequently leading to a rather ‘distorted’ way of critically thinking and assessing information, persons with a gambling addiction tend to identify patterns in completely random sequences and may continue to gamble despite a chain of near misses.
Consequently, this is likely another indicator of the rather marginal proportion of adults which may be subject to developing a gambling addiction. Given the significantly large number of persons who gamble socially without ever developing an addiction of any kind, persons who suspect themselves of developing gambling addictions are often overrun with feelings of embarrassment, shame and guilt and are often left to feel alone in an isolated pool of helplessness.
Overcoming all feelings of shame associated with your addiction is a crucial step towards achieving a full recovery. Pursuing one-on-one counseling sessions, medication or recovery programs are vital in serious cases, and can be used to safely prevent the inevitable long term consequences that a gambling addiction will have on your financial standing, personal relationships, and family connections.
A Final Take
It should be noted that- like with most addictions, those suspecting themselves of developing a gambling addiction need to ensure they completely stop the practice completely; adopting an occasional gambling route can- and often does, merely leads to a relapse and ultimately prolong one’s deteriorated personal situation.
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