Gambling addiction is a serious illness that must be properly treated in a professional setting. SCAC offers treatment plans for people with this addition.
What You Need to Know About Gambling Addiction
An addiction to gambling does not always involve going to a casino. Thanks to the internet, there are plenty of ways to gamble online. An addiction to sports betting can also occur. Also, lottery tickets, both the numbered kind and the ones where the cards are scratched to reveal potential prizes, are also a part of this issue. Regardless of the type of gambling involved, an addiction to gambling can be devastating, as it leads to financial downfalls and even other addictions, such as those to alcohol and drugs.
Gambling Addiction Factors
There are several reasons why people turn to gambling and end up addicted to it. They may have financial issues that they try to solve “quickly and easily” (although this is neither a quick nor easy solution) by trying to win money. A person can also become addicted to the feeling that they get when they win or even bet a certain amount of money. This can lead to a spike in the brain’s serotonin, which makes the person feel great for a time. The only way to feel that way again is to keep gambling. This leads to an endless cycle of betting money to make them feel good, losing that money and panicking, and then repeating the entire loop over and over again. Since these games are set up so that the house wins most of the time, the gambler rarely breaks even and eventually winds up in debt.
No matter the root cause of gambling addiction, it is important that the person seek help; otherwise, they will end up hurting their loved ones, ruining their finances, and more.
Symptoms of a Gambling Addiction
As with any addiction, there are some things to look out for. The main signs of gambling addiction are:
- Going into debt to keep gambling
- Hiding your gambling habits
- Being unable to stop gambling, no matter how much you want to
- Ignoring the advice of friends and family who are concerned about your habit
- Isolating yourself
- Missing out on every day and even important activities in order to gamble
The most important of these symptoms is your complete inability to stop on your own. You may be able to quit gambling for a very short period, but you end up going back to it, thinking that this one final time is all that you need to win that large jackpot. You –or your loved one who has a gambling addiction, will need to seek professional help in order to deal with this addictive habit.
In addition to the main symptoms listed above, there are many emotional and physical symptoms that are the hallmarks of a gambling addiction. They are:
- Having suicidal thoughts
- Feeling anxious
- Feeling depressed or hopeless
- Not sleeping properly
- Physical self-harming
- Weight gain or loss
- Sleeplessness or insomnia
Any of these symptoms in combination with the ones listed above could be the signs of a gambling addiction.
If a gambling addiction goes on long enough, it can cause both short-term and long-term effects on the person. One of these includes turning to drugs or alcohol to cope with the monetary losses and other symptoms of the disorder. Stress is another issue, as the gambler gets more deeply into the addiction and begins to worry about the financial losses. They will also harm their relationships with their loved ones, especially if those loved ones attempt to point out the addiction and get the person help.
Once a person with a gambling addict asks for help, there are a number of possible treatment options. The first thing that will be done is a full workup to determine if any dual diagnoses are affecting the addiction. These can include anxiety, depression, or even a dual addiction to drugs or alcohol.
From there, a treatment plan will be created. This may include either inpatient or outpatient treatments, depending on any additional diagnoses, as well as individual or group talk therapies. On top of this, there are prescription medications that may help, including those designed for treating anxiety or depression. Again, this depends on the complete list of diagnoses.
Gambling Addiction FAQs
There are some questions that are often asked about gambling addictions. Here are some of the most common, along with responses that will help.
How can I find out if I have a gambling addiction?
While there is no actual test or assessment that you can do on your own to determine if you have a gambling addiction, you can ask yourself one very important question: how you feel if you quit gambling right this minute? If you answered “fine”, then you do not have a gambling addiction. However, if even reading that question brought up feelings of anxiety, then you may have a gambling addiction and should seek the help of a professional.
Can someone have a dual diagnosis and a gambling addiction?
Yes. A dual diagnosis occurs when someone has an addiction of any sort, as well as a mental or mood disorder. In some cases, the addiction comes first, in others, the mental or mood disorder is what leads to the addiction. It is entirely possible to have a mood disorder and a gambling addiction at the same time. If this is the case, then both disorders will need to be treated at the same time.
What about depression and a gambling addiction? Do they have anything in common?
Yes. Both depression and a gambling addiction can occur concurrently. It is not unusual for the gambling addiction to lead to depression.
Do You Want to Seek Help For a Gambling Addiction?
If you are ready to take the first step towards recovery, please reach out to us today. The professionals at SCAC can help you successfully treat your gambling addiction and any dual diagnosis that goes along with it.