Gambling Addiction Head On
Gambling addiction is a serious subject. Human beings are, unfortunately, subject to many stressors in life that affect their thinking and mental state. Everyone is going to have ups and downs, and some of the downs are conditions like addiction. Addiction comes in many forms, and one of these forms is gambling addiction. Unlike many conditions, there may be relatively few symptoms, and gambling may be easier to hide than some other addictions. It can, nevertheless, be no less devastating.
When gambling becomes a problem is when it begins to adversely affect someone’s life. The mathematics of gambling are irrevocable. Despite such a poor long term prognosis, betting money in the hope of a life-altering win is such an enticing proposition, the excitement so intense that it generates a cognitive addiction. This is fine within a budget, but when relationships become strained as a result, when work performance if compromised, or worst of all, financial catastrophe. Betting on sports, lotteries, scratch cards, casino games and slots, whether in a brick and mortar casino or online can easily become very hard to control. Like many conditions, because it has developed over a period of time, gambling addition may be difficult for anyone to recognise and accept, and yet this is obviously the first step to dealing with the problem.
A Definition of the Addiction
Gambling addiction may also be considered compulsive gambling. Technically, a type of impulse-control disorder because compulsive gamblers are unable to resist the urge to gamble. This urge may be so powerful that people continue to gamble despite their addiction hurting themselves or their loved ones. Gambling has then developed the cognitive effect of alcohol or drug addiction, and becomes an all-consuming habit. Compulsive gamblers would typically therefore keep gambling whether they are up or down, can afford it or not, and generally either being happy or depressed can fuel the addiction. Such pre-occupation obviously can lead to a negative spiral of detrimental effects, and the earlier this is recognised as a problem the better the prognosis and the easier it is to treat.
The Reasons for Gambling
There are any number of cognitive attachments to gambling. Isolating these, and providing alternative ways of dealing with stressors, is the basic aim of any treatment regime. The stressors, which trigger the urge to gamble may be unpleasant and well as pleasant. The more unpleasant stressors such as anxiety, anger, loneliness, stress, or depression, by itself or in conjunction with other variables can trigger compulsive gambling or even just make it worse. Pleasant stressors like winning the lottery or getting a raise at work can also develop into compulsive gambling.
Stress management is obviously an early step in the rehabilitation of gambling addiction. Stress management, done correctly, and dealing with the management of the cognitive processes as well as treating the symptoms of stress has by far the highest success rate. These symptom treatments would include exercising, and range of options such as spending time with friends, starting new hobbies, or a variety of mind relaxation techniques such as meditation, visual imaging or yoga.