Gambling addiction is a type of impulse control disorder. It is a condition in which a person is periodically or permanently unable to resist the temptation to perform certain actions that harm themselves and others. Inveterate gamblers continue gambling at any opportunity: when they are well off or in a difficult financial situation, experiencing joy or depression. Even when a player knows that all odds are against him, he cannot bring himself to stop. Addiction is a pathology. Statistically, between 2 and 4% of the entire population has some kind of problem with gambling entertainment.
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Over the years of research, experts have identified a number of universal symptoms that manifest themselves in different areas of human life. Addiction affects not only the psychology of the player, it can also affect his physiological state. This way social behavior is formed which nowadays is defined as addiction.
What should a gambler do first?
If your life involves gambling, and you can attribute only a few points from the symptomatology to yourself, it is most likely a mild degree of addiction. It can be overcome with relatively little effort. The main way to limit yourself from gambling is to analyze the craving factors that you can eliminate from your life by replacing them with healthy choices. To do this, four elements of behavior must be considered.
- Solution. Before you sit down at a table or run a slot machine, stop and call someone, think about the consequences, deny yourself, and take up another activity (such as a hobby, reading a book, or going to the gym).
- Money. There’s no gambling without a cash investment. Get rid of your credit cards and let someone else (a relative, a good friend, a significant other) be in charge of your finances. Some banks may make the payments automatic and put a time limit on it.
- Time. Gambling tends to take a lot of time. Make a special schedule for yourself that has no place for casinos, sports betting and other entertainment. Plan an excursion, a vacation with your family, call a confidant, meet a friend to socialize.
- Game. Don’t visit resources and places with tempting conditions. Ask the managers of the gambling establishments where you are registered to put restrictions on your accounts. Block access to gambling sites on your computer.
How does the addiction manifest itself in a loved one?
If your loved one(s) has a gambling problem, he/she may:
- Adopt a defensive stance toward gambling. The bigger the problem, the greater the need to defend gambling as a way to profit. The person may become secretive, harrowing his or her own position, or blaming you for interfering and convincing you to believe in the “big win.”
- Secretive spending, seeking to control finances. The gambler may express a keen desire to control savings. Money may inexplicably go missing in an existing budget. Often gamblers take out loans without warning, mortgage property, and put things in pawnshops.
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