Did you know that gambling addiction can be just as devastating as any other substance abuse problem or mental health condition? People who suffer from gambling addiction are at an increased rate of having suicidal thoughts and tendencies, they often commit suicide or are injured as a result of owing large gambling debts and those who do live, find themselves in a world of pain. This addiction is often called the “silent killer” because there are no easy to spot, physical signs of gambling addiction.
Signs of Gambling Addiction
Physically, you probably won’t recognize any major signs or symptoms of gambling addiction but psychologically, the individual who is suffering can have a number of signs. In addition to the psychological signs of the addiction, there are some behavioral signs or patters that may be spotted when gambling is a problem. Some signs to watch out for include:
- Financial instability – if you notice that money is coming up missing or that someone you love keeps spending money but cannot explain where the money is going, there could be a gambling problem
- Debt – many people who gamble lose large amounts of money and will borrow large amounts of money in order to gamble. They may borrow loans against their home, property or other assets
- Depression – gamblers often suffer a very extreme form of depression that leads them to staying secluded, sleeping a lot or simply being down and out.
- Gambling despite problems with family – gamblers will continue to spend their money even though they have had financial problems and their family has asked them to stop
- Out of control gambling – people who are problem gamblers will keep gambling until their money is gone or they have exhausted all resources and cannot gamble anymore
Treatment for Gambling Addiction
Because gambling addiction has so many negative effects on the addict and on those who care about the addict, there have been various methods of treatment developed to help those who suffer from this disease. The primary method of treatment for a gambling addiction is counseling. People who gamble typically do so to replace something that they feel is missing in their lives, to have fun, to cure boredom or for a mental health reason. Counseling can provide effective treatment for these underlying issues and teach the patient how to cope with these issues in a more positive manner.
Group therapy is also a common method of treatment for gambling addiction. Many community groups are also provided for problem gamblers such as Gamblers Anonymous. This is a twelve-step program that provides those with an addiction the support and sense of community that they need to recovery. Many people who attend these meetings are able to overcome their gambling addiction without invasive treatment or further care but others will require long term counseling and therapy for absolute recovery.
Those in treatment describe gambling addiction as one of the worst things that anyone could ever go through. It is said that, “if you have not ever lived this hell, you just don’t know.” Gambling addiction silently kills people, silently sucking away their assets, their dignity and ultimately their life, but there is help. If you think that you or someone you love is addicted to gambling or may have a gambling problem that has the potential to spiral out of control, seek immediate help.