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Many people enjoy the lighthearted competition of a bet with a friend. But the fun and games end when you develop a gambling addiction that controls your life. In this article, we’ll learn about what you can do if you’re struggling with a gambling addiction.
How Do Gambling Addictions Develop?
We usually hear more about addictions to drugs or alcohol than gambling addictions, but don’t be fooled by the lack of publicity. Gambling addictions are every bit as serious as any other type of addiction and they have the power to destroy lives.
Gambling addictions can be particularly insidious because they’re easier to hide than addictions to drugs or alcohol. This means that it may be harder for friends and loved ones to identify warning signs. Likewise, the ease with which someone can conceal a gambling addiction may make it easier for addicts to delude themselves about the severity of their problem.
But despite these differences, a gambling addiction can develop in the same way as any other addiction. For example, an alcoholic may develop their addiction by using alcohol as a coping mechanism for stress or dissatisfaction in his life. Likewise, a person can develop a gambling addiction if they rely on gambling as a primary source of pleasure and comfort.
Many people report feeling a euphoric thrill when they place bets and that may motivate them to chase the sensation even if it means putting themselves or others at risk. Studies have shown that this is because gambling activates the reward and pleasure centers of our brains in the same way as addictive drugs. As a result, it’s no surprise that most scientists and psychologists view gambling to be the same type of addiction as a substance abuse problem. And that’s exactly why it’s so important to get help if you or someone you love is battling a gambling addiction.
How Can I Get Help for a Gambling Addiction?
Step One: Admit you have a problem
As with any other addiction, the first step is to admit that you have a problem. This can be especially difficult if you struggle with a gambling addiction. Because it’s easy to convince yourself that your big win is just one play away, you can trick yourself into believing that you don’t really have a problem. It might also be easy to say that you don’t have an addiction, you just haven’t hit a lucky strike yet! But Mind Diagnostics provides helpful information to assess your relationship with gambling addiction here: https://www.mind-diagnostics.org/blog/gambling-addiction.
Step Two: Examine your emotions
Once you take the first step and admit that you have a problem, there are a variety of resources that can help you defeat your gambling addiction. One of the most important things to remember is that a gambling addiction is an emotional problem rather than a substance abuse problem. In your battle with this addiction, it’s important to examine the emotions that motivated you to use gambling as a crutch or an escape.
So, your next step should be to conduct a personal inventory of your emotional state. Take a good, hard look at your feelings. Are you sad? Lonely? Did you turn to gambling because nothing else in your life brings you pleasure? Answering these questions can help you understand the deeper emotional problem that lies at the root of your gambling addiction.
Step Three: Reach out for help
The two previous steps are key in laying the groundwork that is necessary for your recovery. But if you want support as you battle your gambling addiction, you may find it helpful to reach out to someone. Maybe it’s a mental health professional who has experience treating addiction. Maybe it’s a friend, a support group, or an accountability partner. Or maybe you reach out to the national gambling hotline for support. Any and all of these resources can support you in your journey to overcome your addiction. And if you want to rely on all of these support systems at the same time, that’s okay too. You can never have too many sources of support and accountability, so don’t be afraid to reach out!
A gambling addiction is a serious problem that can destroy your mental health. But even when you feel hopeless, remember that you are not stuck and you are not alone. You can always overcome your addiction — you just have to reach out and grab the life raft that’s waiting for you.
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Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health-related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.