Gambling is prevalent in our society. There are millions of problem gamblers all over the world. The anticipation and thrill of gambling creates a natural high that can become addictive. The internet has made gambling more accessible, allowing more and more people to do it from home. This is thought to be one of the reasons for the increase in the number of women gamblers.
Gambling is a behavior that many individuals get sucked in to. What may begin as a friendly game of poker or a first visit to a casino, can quickly spiral out of control. While drug addiction can be extremely detrimental to the health of these individuals, gambling can be equally as devastating to the financial life of these individuals.
What do you do if you are married to someone who is caught up into gambling and might even be going down the downhill slope of gambling away your marriage, family relationship, your home and everything you own and treasure?
Gambling addiction carries hefty social costs, including loss of worker productivity, unemployment costs, bankruptcy and the costs of treating illnesses related to pathological gambling (anxiety, depression). Volunteer organisations are seeing cases of problem gambling rising rapidly, with one of them seeing new cases doubled.
When millennials think of gaming, gambling isn’t what comes to mind. Millennials are the first generation raised on video games, making their ideas of gaming as entertainment different than the generations before. While social gambling isn’t a problem for most, for those facing a gambling addiction, it provides a sense of control and escape which, over time, can affect other areas of life.
Because of the seriousness of this problem, we know it’s important to do what we can to help those who are overwhelmed by it. A University of Nebraska Medical Center study concluded that problem gambling is as much a risk factor for domestic violence as alcohol abuse. Domestic violence murders in at least 11 states have been traced to gambling problems since 1996.
Gambling, is predicated on the losses, pain, and suffering of others. For one to win at gambling, others must lose. For many, the ramifications attributable to their gambling losses are profound. Families touched by a gambling addiction are at greatly increased risk for such negative outcomes as divorce, bankruptcy, child abuse, domestic violence, crime, and suicide.
In the past, the psychiatric community generally regarded pathological gambling as more of a compulsion than an addiction – a behavior primarily motivated by the need to relieve anxiety rather than a craving for intense pleasure. Neuroscience has proven that drugs and gambling alter many of the same brain circuits in similar ways.
More effective treatment is increasingly necessary because gambling is more acceptable and accessible than ever before. Four in five Americans say they have gambled at least once in their lives. A new understanding of compulsive gambling has also helped scientists redefine addiction itself.
Numerous recent studies in psychology, neuroscience and genetics demonstrate that gambling and drug addiction are far more similar than previously realized. Research to date shows that pathological gamblers and drug addicts share many of the same genetic predispositions for impulsivity and reward seeking.
Many people have been unwilling to admit they are real problem gamblers. No one likes to think they are different from their fellows. Therefore, it is not surprising that their gambling careers have been characterized by countless vain attempts to prove they could gamble like other people. The idea that somehow, some day, they will control their gambling is the great obsession of every compulsive gambler. The persistence of this illusion is astonishing. Many pursue it into the gates of prison, insanity or death.
Gambling addicts are also more likely to go to prison as a result of criminal activity. This is almost entirely theft and fraud. And there’s also a link between gambling and alcohol abuse. Many gambling addicts are also addicted to alcohol. The gambling industry is immoral, it is motivated by greed.
Gambling has a bad effect on society. It promotes crime, as those who lose their money steal to get more, or get drunk to drown out their sorrow. It contributes to greater poverty, as those who cannot afford to gamble do so anyway. It leads to addiction, for some are so obsessed by the hope of winning the jackpot that they gamble compulsively. And all these, in turn, put great stress on families, which results in more broken homes.
Many consider the gambling industry to be right and good. We are told that gambling is good because it raises money for good social causes.
Get help if you think you’re addicted to gambling
Signs of addictive gambling:
- Low self-esteem
- A tendency to impulsive behavior
- Difficulty delaying gratification
- Someone who is tolerant of deviant behavior
- Having an increased sense of stress
- Gambling causes stress
- Gambling makes people rude and moody
- Gambling ruins a family
Family and friends often get hooked into gambling as well. The spouse in particular may deny the extent of the problem. They may try to convince themselves that their marriage is strong enough to bear up under this pressure, and that the issue is better left alone.
Reflections every gambler should do:
- Consider the things in your life of value to you.
- How much time do you devote to gambling?
- Think about how you feel when you gamble.
- Do you feel isolated from your family or friends when you gamble?
Gamblers Anonymous program:
- We admitted we were powerless over gambling – that our lives had become unmanageable.
- Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to a normal way of thinking and living.
- Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of this Power of our own understanding.
- Made a searching and fearless moral and financial inventory of ourselves.
- Admitted to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
- Were entirely ready to have these defects of character removed.
- Humbly asked God (of our understanding) to remove our shortcomings.
- Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
- Make direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
- Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
- Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
- Having made an effort to practice these principles in all our affairs, we tried to carry this message to other compulsive gamblers.
People will include spirituality in their recovery programs differently. For some people, spirituality means a belief in a specific God or gods. This usually includes a religious practice or faith. These people can easily bring spirituality into their recovery plan. They may wish to consult with a spiritual leader or practitioner of their particular faith for guidance. They also benefit by their involvement with a spiritual community. Churches, temples, covens, synagogues, mosques, shrines, provide such a community.
The attraction of gambling is entertainment and the love of money. Gambling wrecks homes and marriages. The business is wicked and it attracts all type of men but especially the poor who believe in the get rich quick schemes. Gambling encourages laziness and covetousness in the same time. Gambling gives false hope to people and builds false imaginations.
The truth is that gambling is not beneficial. Not to individuals, not to families, not to societies. Sadly, many governments ignore the downsides of gambling and increasingly use lotteries as a method of fund-raising. This only takes advantage of vulnerable people, instead of serving them.
Gambling is especially pernicious when it is administered by government or when government relies on it for a substantial source of tax revenues. The temptations of the gambler are such that persons in responsible positions in government and private industry will not hire or retain as employees those who are known to gamble.
Each game you play at a casino has a statistical probability against you winning. Every single time. This house advantage varies for each game, and helps ensure that over time the casino won’t lose money against gamblers.
Americans gamble more money each year than they spend on groceries! Usually the people who gamble the most are the people who can afford it the least: the poor and the elderly.
There are thousands of people around the world who are struggling with some sort of gambling setback or an obsessive gambling addiction.
Gambling addiction can be the reason of anxiety, depression and a host of other mental problems and a suicide risk.
Get help if you think you’re addicted to gambling
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