Addiction can come in many shapes and forms. It can hit people in different ways. One of the most common addictions is to gambling. Sure, many people have heard about addictions to drugs and alcohol; however, a gambling addiction can be just as severe and ruin someone’s life just as quickly. Therefore, it is important for everyone to know about gambling addictions. This can come on insidiously and might not show signs or symptoms until it is already completely out of control. For this reason, there are numerous resources available to help those who are struggling with an addiction to gambling. People simply need to know that professionals are willing to help.
Mark Wahlberg, in the movie The Gambler, took us through the struggles of degenerative gambling and how addictive it can be. In that movie, he perfectly depicted how much pull gambling could have and its consequences. In this article, we will be taking you through steps on how to deal with gambling addiction.
About 1% of the adult population in the US has pathological gambling problems. The most recent study shows that 6-9% of young adults experience issues related to gambling.
Before we go any further into providing possible solutions on how to stop gambling addiction, let’s start by putting the issue into perspective.
What Is Gambling?
Gambling is the act of playing a game, using cash as a stake with the hope of gaining higher returns. It relies heavily on luck.
While many seem to claim that the knowledge of patterns and sequence of events puts them at an advantage, it still doesn’t negate that no assurance is involved.
Today, gambling has been made more widespread because there are many options. Before today, gambling only takes place in specific locations. But now gambling has become so automated that every individual can take part anywhere and at any time.
Not only can you play casino games for money, but you can also bet on sporting events with the possibility of amassing wealth in winnings.
Why Is Gambling Addictive?
It is apparent how worrisome gambling is. To properly proffer solutions on how to stop gambling addiction, we need to understand how it becomes addictive in the first place.
Dr. Cyrus Abbasian, an addiction specialist, explained that our brains are designed in such a way that they seek rewards. Going further, he pointed out that the reward comes in the form of dopamine – a chemical in the brain that makes us feel good.
This makes sense because the more we lean towards that part of our brain that’s inclined to seeking rewards, the more we plunge deep into the activity.
If you have been following our articles on drug addiction, you will discover that the increased levels of dopamine triggered by any addictive activity is attributed to the cause of addiction. It shows that there is a pattern with which addiction manifests, regardless of the triggering factor.
What is a Gambling Addiction?
First, people need to know what gambling addiction is. If someone is suffering from an addiction to gambling, their brain has been rewired to believe that gambling is necessary for survival. The brain sees gambling similar to food, water, and air. As a result, people end up being forced to gamble just to keep themselves somewhat stable.
The addictive part of gambling is the thrill and suspense that comes with every game and wager. People enjoy the feeling of not knowing whether or not they are going to win or lose. There is a feeling of excitement that comes with it. Then, when someone wins, there is a rush or “high” that people experience. This is similar to the high that people get when they use drugs. This is why so many people compare a gambling addiction to drug usage.
This addiction can get out of control quickly. Therefore, it is critical to identify every gambling addiction as early as possible. With this in mind, there are a few signs of a gambling addiction that everyone should note. The first step for how to stop a gambling addiction is becoming aware of the problem.
What are the Signs of a Gambling Addiction?
There are a few signs that someone might be struggling with a gambling addiction. It is important to note these signs so that any gambling addiction can be identified as quickly as possible. The sooner it can be identified, the faster it can be treated.
Losing Sleep: One of the first signs that someone is struggling with an addiction to gambling is that they are losing sleep. Some people will stay up late at night gambling. No, people do not have to go to a casino to gamble. Now, people can gamble online. This has made gambling more accessible than ever before. This also makes it more addictive than ever.
An Inability to Stop: Next, people need to note that they will not be able to stop if they are addicted to gambling. People come in with a set amount of money they are willing to gamble. Then, they run out of money. Instead of stopping like they’re supposed to, they run to the ATM to get more money instead. Or, they try to gamble with their property. These are signs of a serious problem.
Relationships are Fading: Finally, people with a gambling addiction will also struggle to maintain their personal and professional relationships. Instead of staying in touch with family members and friends, they spend all their time gambling. Gambling has effectively replaced people in their lives. This is a sign that it is time to get help.
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How Bad Can It Get?
It is critical for everyone to note that an addiction to gambling can be every bit as bad as an addiction to alcohol or drugs. When someone is addicted to gambling, they run the risk of losing everything. Some people will end up taking out second mortgages or siphoning critical funds from their paycheck just to feed an addiction to gambling. They might even lose their job. When someone loses all their money, this is going to ruin their relationships with their loved ones as well. For this reason, it is important to remember that there are professional gambling addiction treatment centers available. With the right resources, everyone can stop their gambling addiction.
How to Stop a Gambling Addiction: Tips
Dealing with gambling addiction is tough. It is particularly challenging because most people with the problem don’t know they’re addicted in the first place.
Even though it is hard to curtail, it is quite possible to stop gambling addiction. The following steps may be beneficial:
Admit You Have a Gambling Problem
The first step on how to stop addiction is admitting that you have a problem. Don’t live in denial. You can only solve a problem you can identify.
Resolve to Stop Gambling
You are more likely to be adherent to this resolution if you etch the consequences of gambling at the back of your mind.
Avoid Situations That Will Make You Gamble
If you want to stop gambling, you need to avoid places or situations that would make you gamble.
Need Help Stopping a Gambling Addiction?
This is a more proactive solution that is popularly suggested. In actuality, it is the best way to go about it. Gambling addiction is better handled by experienced professionals that specialize in rehabilitating people struggling with addiction.
Enlight Treatment Center is an affordable luxury Rehab in Ventura County, California. We promote choices for healthier lives to those in need of prevention, intervention, and treatment for gambling addiction disorders.
Anyone who is suffering from an addiction to gambling needs to know that there are treatment options available. Nobody has to face this situation alone. At Enlight Treatment Center, we are a dual-diagnosis detox & drug rehab program specializing in addiction treatment located in Moorpark, CA. We take a great deal of pride in the resources that we provide to those in need. We will work hard to make sure that everyone who comes to see us is treated with care and compassion. Our professionals have a tremendous amount of experience in the treatment of gambling addiction and we would be happy to help you as well. If you would like to learn more about our services, please contact us today! We look forward to meeting you!
The Connection Between Gambling and Substance Abuse
Some addictions occur together, and they are known as co-occurring disorders. Gambling and substance abuse are one of the more common types of co-occurring addictions.
A trip to Vegas is almost a rite of passage. Tempted by the ever bright lights of Sin City and the numerous casinos that fit its streets, people flock to the city that never sleeps to have a little fun. What’s a visit to Vegas without a little gambling?
It could be fun playing with risks and high stakes once in a while, but when gambling becomes a compulsive behavior, an addiction is born.
Gambling addiction is as life-altering as other forms of addiction like opioid addiction and alcoholism. Unlike these other addiction types, only about 0.3% of people struggle with pathologic or problem gambling.
In recent years, it has come to light that many diagnosed gambling addiction cases were comorbid with other mental disorders like depression and substance abuse. This has then begged the question – is there a connection between gambling addiction and substance abuse? Could one be affecting the other, or are both disorders affecting each other in a never-ending loop?
As these questions arise, more research has been done to determine if a connection exists between pathologic or problem gambling and substance abuse.
Establishing the Connection Between Gambling and Substance Abuse
The first and most important connection between gambling and the varied forms of substance abuse like alcoholism and drug abuse is that both are addictions.
Gambling addiction is a behavioral addiction that sometimes looks more like a compulsive-obsessive disorder rather than an addiction. But at its core, both conditions meet the standard requirements for an addiction diagnosis.
Strong addiction elements – lack of control, dependence, and inability to stop even with negative consequences – make both disorders addictions.
But perhaps the strongest connection between the two lies in their effect. Substance use and gambling both affect a common neural pathway in the brain.
When pathologic gambling sets in, the addict experiences a thrill when they take on huge risks. And even if they fail, they gamble more with even higher risks in a never-ending search for the thrill of winning. They become addicted to the feeling of extreme euphoria they get each time they win.
A person with a substance use disorder experiences something similar. Be it opioids, alcohol, cocaine, or any other harmful substance; the individual is also locked in the same destructive cycle of reaching for euphoria. Often, the thrill they seek lies in increased doses.
With these strong connections, it’s easy to see how gambling and substance abuse could be co-diagnosed in the same individual.
A recovering alcoholic and gambling addict recalled how alcohol was a handy numbing agent on the days when he lost. And on the days he won, it contributed to his state of euphoria. Before long, he became addicted to both.
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How to Get Help With Gambling and Substance Abuse
Do you have a gambling problem? Do you think you could also be struggling with a substance use disorder? If you aren’t exactly sure, check out these standard requirements for diagnosis.
There’s good news for you if you are. Dual-diagnosis is a treatment program for individuals who present co-occuring disorders. It is a treatment option specially designed to treat both addictions together.
Enlight Treatment Center offers dual-diagnosis together with other addiction treatment programs. Located in Ventura County, this luxury treatment center isn’t just affordable; it offers high-quality treatment. Our staff is available to answer any questions you may have regarding getting started with treatment. Reach out to us today to stop your gambling addiction!