Compulsive gambling or an addiction to gambling, similar to other types of addiction such as substance abuse, alcohol addiction, is just as damaging and devastating to one’s family. Albeit not as commonly discussed as substance abuse and alcoholism, an addiction to gambling is actually quite widespread, contrary to popular belief. Similar to alcoholism, gambling ceases to be a social activity when it starts interfering with your work life, does not allow you to function properly, strains your relationships and leads you into a financial fix.
Understanding compulsive gambling
As gambling is often touted as a social activity, not many people realize that too much gambling is actually classified as a type of disorder. The moment you spend too much time gambling and if this behavior and activity disrupts your life, it becomes a problem. However if you cannot stop this problem and continuously behave in this manner, this problem escalates into a compulsive gambling problem. Compulsive gamblers often cannot control the urge to gamble, despite knowing that they are already hurting themselves and their family members. When the urge arises, all they can think about is getting their fix, in spite of the possible consequences. Those who gamble compulsively would gamble even if they know they cannot afford to spend that extra cash. All that would matter is them being able to gamble.
Signs of gambling addiction
An addiction to gambling, unlike alcoholism or substance abuse, is not as obvious as there are no signs shown. However some tell-tale signs of a person getting addicted to gambling or going back to gambling, for those have a history with gambling issues would be them withdrawing from their families and loved ones. Once they start to sneak around and start lying about their whereabouts, this is might be the start of something or a reoccurrence of past misbehavior. If you find yourself in a binding fix and you feel the urge to gamble even when you do not have any money left, make sure to seek help immediately. The more desperate you feel to recoup any losses, the more dire your situation might get. You might find yourself stealing, borrowing and selling off property in order to come up with money to spend gambling. Should you be feeling anything like this, make sure to alert family members right away. Families who have members who have gambling addictions should be on the lookout for any difference in their behavior. If they depict any odd behavior, make sure to look into their activities to find out the source of the change in their behavior.
How to help a recovering gambler
The usual trigger points of compulsive gambling would be stress, loneliness, fear, depression or anxiety. Compulsive gamblers would often use gambling as a means to be able to unwind and de-stress. But the moment they start getting back on the gambling horse, stopping them would be almost impossible. One way to help a recovering gambler would be by constantly communicating with them. Keep the communication lines open. That way you will be able to notice any change in their behavior right away. It is also good to keep their attention diverted at all times. Always remember that an idle mind is the devil’s playground. Family members could help by taking them out on vacations or arranging activities for them to keep their energy directed on things that are more constructive. Get them to be active with household chores such as canvassing for the best termite inspection cost, which you can find here. That way they will feel useful and needed. Another good way to quench the gambling thirst would be to spend time exercising and meditating.
Therapy is also a crucial way to be able to lead a recovering gambler to a better life. It is important to point out that seeing a therapist is not a sign of weakness, but rather a sign of strength, as the recovering gambler has come to accept his faults and takes responsibilities for his inactions. A therapist would usually make the recovering gambler undergo cognitive-behavioral therapy, which will help him change his way of thinking and belief systems. This mode of therapy will also help him deal with the urges and find the best way to deal with the stressors that will lead to him to backslide into his old vice.
Like any addiction or compulsive behavior, it is quite difficult to just stop right away. But the most important thing is the acceptance of one’s fault. With the realization of the gambling problem, both gamblers and their families will be on the way to a better understanding. It is also important to acknowledge that the urge will always re-surface. But with constant communication and a lot of love, the need to gamble will slowly dissipate over the years. There might be some setbacks wherein the recovering gambler might go back to gambling. But with steady support, a recovering gambler will be able to gather ample amounts of strength to go on and mend his broken life.