There’s nothing wrong with a little healthy online gambling, but some people don’t know when to stop. Addicted game players need to get help to control gambling urges or it can eventually lead to financial devastation for both the individual and their families. If you’re questioning yourself and your gaming habits, there are some things to look for when trying to determine if you fall into the category of a compulsive gambler. Compulsive gamblers meet certain criteria and generally have problems limiting the amount of money and time spent on playing cards or table games. As with any strong drug dependency, addicted gamblers feel the need to gradually place bigger and more frequent wagers on the games they play to get a “fix” or a “rush” from the excitement of leaving their bet to chance. If a person feels irritable or restless when they are not playing at online casinos or if they try to reduce their game playing habits, this could be a big red flag that the subject has a problem. Most gamblers will try to deny their addiction by lying and covering up the fact that they play excessively. They also turn to gamble to improve their emotional moods and to escape any lingering problems in their lives. While playing, the gambler temporarily forgets about their problems.
If you know someone who you think has a gambling problem, do not enable them by bailing them out and lending them money for their debts. Gamblers turn to family members and friends for assistance with financing their gaming habits. Medical MRI studies have shown that a compulsive gambler’s brain secretes a chemical called Norepinephrine when experiencing a rush or thrill, which is similar to that of experiencing the high from a dose of cocaine. Certain individuals might be more susceptible to falling victim to gambling problems than most. Subjects who are on certain Parkinson’s medication and those who have had depression with suicidal thoughts may be more likely to become compulsive game players. Of course, not all people who are depressed will go on to have a gambling obsession.
There tends to be more instant gratification for gamblers playing at online casinos. The gamblers like the fact that they don’t have to wait until the next weekly drawing to play such as the state lotto. Whatever the reason, gamblers will tend to lean toward instant bet plays with any available games, be it Roulette, Slots, or Blackjack. Falling prey to obsessive gambling can lead to financial ruin, theft, anxiety disorder, depression, and even suicide. Gambling addiction is a serious issue with devastating consequences.
If you feel you might be predisposed to having a gambling problem or have an addictive type of personality, you can prevent gambling addiction by deciding in advance how much you are going to spend online when you play and stick to it. Keep in the back of your mind that gambling is a game of chance and that you have more of a chance of losing your money than you do of winning some. Don’t try and win back any losses. Chalk it up to lady luck and if you do win, walk away while there is still some money left in your pocket. Another tip to adhere to is honoring your promises to others and decide for yourself how much time you are willing to give to a simple game of cards or slots. It is very easy to succumb to the thrill of game playing and some get carried away by wasting time while letting their life commitments fall to the wayside. Be aware of your limits and don’t become dominated and hypnotized by online casinos. If you find that you cannot satisfy your obligations with family and friends and cannot control the urge to wager money, then it’s time to get some help.
Treatment for gambling addictions can come in the form of counseling, medication, support from various groups and friends, and some self-help tactics. Gamblers Anonymous (GA) utilizes a type of 12 step approach that focuses on providing mutual support at all times. It’s a way for gamblers to change their addictive behaviors by introducing support for something that can fill up their lives in a more positive way.
If you need help with a gambling addiction, you can contact either the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCP) or Gamblers Anonymous (GA) online. Contact information is available via both websites and help is just a phone call away. If you’re lucky enough to live in the state of California, they offer a free state-funded program for help with gambling addiction. Gamblers and family members can receive up to 8 counseling sessions with a licensed therapist all free of charge. Canadian resources can be found by visiting the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse. Their website contains a directory listing of several online phone number resources for problem gambling.
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