When trying to figure out how to quit gambling, knowing the signs of gambling addiction can be very important. Gambling addiction has been around for a very long time, but the explosion of the internet over the past decade or so has created a new type of gambling – online gambling. Gambling has become something that you can do without leaving your house, or your bed even.
The internet benefits us in more ways than we could count, but it can also be very detrimental. For someone who wants to stop gambling, the availability of it right from their own home can make recovery very difficult. It is estimated that in the United States alone, 6 million people are problem gamblers. Online gambling has made it almost a certainty that this number will only continue to rise. The instant gratification and the ease of online gambling is part of the reason these numbers continue to increase.
Just like any other addiction, gambling can be very destructive. When a person can’t stop gambling, it hurts them and it hurts everyone around them terribly, just like an addiction to drugs or alcohol does. A loss of control and continued gambling despite experiencing negative consequences are hallmark signs of any addiction, and gambling addiction is no exception. Someone who is a compulsive gambler or addicted to gambling may be secretive about it, especially if the people around them have started to notice and want them to stop. When an alcoholic is told to stop drinking but they aren’t yet ready to do so, they will hide their drinking and do whatever it takes to be able to continue drinking. A gambling addict will do the same – they will gamble despite what their family and loved ones say, and they will continue gambling even when they are in severe debt. Like most addicts, gamblers often engage in this behavior as a way to escape negative feelings.
Someone who is addicted to gambling may spend almost every waking moment thinking about it or doing it. They may start missing family and social events, or they may start having trouble at work due to their preoccupation with gambling, or due to their actual gambling. At some point, what they’re doing isn’t enough. Like drug and alcohol users build up a tolerance, gamblers experience something very similar. As the gambling progresses, more and more money will be spent and more time will be spent on gambling in order for the person to experience the same sort of ‘high’ that they did in the beginning.
A gambling addict may want to stop, but they don’t really know how to quit gambling. They often try to stop, but end up slipping back into old habits and start gambling again. Just like drug addicts and alcoholics, a gambling addict will experience cravings and may become extremely agitated if they are not able to get their ‘fix.’
Like any other addiction, there are ways to get help. Learning what kind of help is available when considering how to quit gambling will be very beneficial. One of the most important parts of recovering from gambling addiction is admitting that there is a problem. When a person admits that there is a problem, they can then really receive the help that they need and deserve. One of the best options to stop gambling is to enter an inpatient gambling treatment center. There aren’t as many gambling rehabs as there are for drug addiction and alcoholism, but they do exist and can be extremely beneficial. There are also 12 step programs, like Gamblers Anonymous, that can help people stop gambling. Abstinence is possible and there are many people who are in recovery from gambling, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. For someone who has a problem with drugs or alcohol, it is easy to monitor abstinence through drug testing. With gambling, it can be a little more difficult. There are certainly ways to help someone and monitor their gambling habits though. One of the most obvious ways is keeping track of money. It’s important to figure out what works best for you or your loved ones when trying to recover from gambling addiction.