Sufferers of a gambling addiction will often feel a lack of control and find themselves depending emotionally on gambling to deal with unpleasant feelings or situations. Often, they’ll feel a buzz or high when gambling, and as their addiction progresses they might find themselves increasing the frequency at which they gamble and the amount of money wagered. For many, a gambling addiction causes them to eventually risk more money than they could afford to lose and even compel them to blow through savings, take on unmanageable debt, or even lie to or steal from loved ones to fuel their addiction. Although it’s incredibly difficult to overcome, there is help for gambling addiction out there and it’s possible to make a full recovery.
There are a wide variety of reasons why individuals may become addicted to gambling, which is what makes it such a difficult problem to overcome. Some may use gambling as a method to distract or relieve themselves from existing dysphoric feelings such as stress, anxiety or depression, since the excitement of wagering money and the thrill of winning can help to lift their mood.
For others, their gambling addiction may have sprung from simple enjoyment of gambling as a pastime, until the urge to win large amounts of money drove them to gamble more and more, taking bigger and bigger risks each time. The difficulty is that even when big wins are made, the euphoria of winning tends to fuel the need for even more gambling, thus creating a cycle that leave sufferers feeling trapped.
As with any other addiction, a gambling addict cannot simply stop their behaviour at any point, no matter how much the problem impacts their lives or relationships. The earlier a problem with gambling is identified, the sooner it can be dealt with using professional behavioural therapies such as counselling. Often it is necessary to examine an individuals emotions and past experiences to discover what triggers their compulsion or why they use it as a coping mechanism. From there, it is possible to deal with the bigger issue in their life and find alternative ways for them to cope with whatever feelings or trauma that tends to trigger their addiction.
If you have a gambling addiction or are helping a gambling addict to overcome their problem, it’s important to seek professional help. Don’t hesitate to call or contact us to book an initial assessment with one of our addiction experts and take the first step towards recovery.