These days, most people seriously disapprove of any form of gambling and freak out over the smallest bets. It is due to the serious consequences that the hobby could cause but if you have a responsible approach to gambling, your betting sessions will not affect your happiness levels and mental health. However, the phrase “problem gambler” has been thrown around so much that it’s hard to actually recognize the true signs of gambling addiction.
Is Gambling Your Priority?
The first sign of a gambling issue comes whenever you receive any kind of money or something of value and the first thing on your mind is how you’ll gamble it away. Whether it’s a birthday gift or the salary you’ve worked to earn the past month, this sort of behavior can indicate you have a major problem. The recurring theme that most problem gamblers seem to forget is that after all, gambling should always stay a hobby and not a lifestyle.
Lying To Family And Friends
Your betting sessions should be just like any other hobby. Most people aren’t ashamed of their weekly golfing session so neither should you. If at any point you find yourself hiding and lying about how you spend your free time, it could potentially signal that your betting habits are unhealthy.
A big part of what makes gambling fun is the shared social experience. Staying in Vegas alone, without friends, would be extremely boring. Moreover, gambling in secrecy alone could even make you more prone to a gambling problem and a worse mental state.
While it’s generally hard to stop when you’re having fun, the inability to do so in the world of gambling signals trouble. This is because most gamblers keep playing in order to chase their losses and win their money back. Chasing losses is generally a very bad habit when gambling. So make sure that when the fun stops, your gambling sessions take a halt with it.
Exceeding Your Budget
Whenever going out to a casino or playing online you should always set a responsible budget of the maximum amount you’re willing to spend. This is unique for each person but if your average bets exceed your hourly pay, you really need to consider slowing down. Everyone oversteps that threshold once in a while in the heat of a moment. However, if you’re regularly going over your set limit you very likely have a compulsive gambling issue.
Gambling With Someone Else’s Money
If you’re borrowing or even stealing someone else’s money to gamble you’re officially way over your head. Borrowing a few bucks from a friend for convenience doesn’t necessarily mean trouble. But if you take out a credit loan because you have cleaned your bank account, you have a clear problem.
Spending more than your whole salary on a simple hobby means you are no longer in control. You should always have money management strategies for your gambling sessions to avoid financial problems and save yourself a headache.
All hobbies demand money investment, whether it’s for the equipment or something similar. The only difference between spending money on a slot as opposed to a concert ticket is that gamblers have the advantage of having a chance to win their money back or, what’s more, land some amazing prizes and get more than they invested.
However, if your gambling sessions have a bad toll on your mental health and leave you feeling even more miserable than before, you should consider stopping.
Everyone loves to have fun but skipping minor and major responsibilities just to extend your gambling sessions is definitely an unhealthy habit. Missing the birthday celebrations of loved ones, your work, or even skipping personal responsibilities that affect your health are major indicators that you cannot bring yourself to stop. Once betting games consume your day-to-day life make sure to seek professional help.
Overcoming Gambling Addiction
If you or someone you know shows some of these signs, make sure to act quickly before it’s too late.
Admit Your Gambling Problem
Admitting to a gambling addiction problem is the first but hardest step for any player. It is important to put your pride aside and assess your situation objectively. Not even the most renowned and accomplished doctor could help a person that doesn’t want to be saved. Acknowledging the issue is absolutely necessary for a recovery to take place.
Seek Professional Help
A diagnosed gambling addiction is a very serious condition that could potentially destroy your life and the lives of those around you. It is of utmost importance to seek professional help as soon as possible. Addiction problems require extensive and special psychosocial treatments that should be handled by experts.
Slow But Steady Transition
Unfortunately, there isn’t a magic pill to cure addictive behavior overnight. Gambling habits are often developed over the course of a few years so approach your treatment in a slow and steady manner. Getting rid of such deeply rooted habits will of course need time.