Gambling should be a source of entertainment, excitement and enjoyment done in your free time. With gambling, you have the chance of upping your game and enjoying some of the rewards that come along with it. This includes winning prizes or money. However, gambling becomes a problem when it is done excessively and is affecting your life negatively.
Thus, should you be experiencing any issues concerning gambling too much and would like to know about the risks associated with a gambling problem, you can continue reading to find out more about a compulsive gambling disorder.
Compulsive gambling causes
To date, it remains relatively unknown in terms of what actually causes compulsive gambling. However, it has the ability to affect individuals in different ways and there are many factors that influence how a person is affected by gambling. Some of the factors associated with it would be; greed and chasing losses. Here we discuss some of the additional factors;
Individuals with financial related issues may be at risk of acquiring compulsive gambling behaviours. Therefore, if you are living from paycheck to paycheck and are struggling to make ends meet. The idea of potentially making money at a rapid rate may seem enticing to many, especially those with financial related issues. Thus, people may make use of the little that they have, in an attempt to make more.
However, winning is not guaranteed and using all of your funds may lead to further financial issues in future. This then encourages players to continue gambling with the hopes of winning, creating a vicious cycle that has the ability to trap you indefinitely.
If you are experiencing ongoing issues in your personal life, you may use gambling as a way of escaping reality. Often compulsive gamblers prioritize gambling and other forms of reality in an attempt to escape issues in their life such as eating, work, sleeping and more. This in turn causes additional problems for them in the long, as financial related issues can be potentially added to their personal load.
Often, compulsive gamblers lose track of time whilst playing and can spend hours playing the same game repeatedly. This form of reality escape is evidently unhealthy and can cause serious problems in your life if left unchecked.
Did you know that casino games and betting is a proven way of getting regular thrills? You bet a big amount, cross your fingers and hope to win. Thus, a lot of people tend to enjoy the adrenaline rush associated with gambling.
However, this thrill has the potential of being problematic in the long run. Therefore, it is important to limit your spending and time spent playing, in order to ensure that you do not put too much at risk.
It is extremely tempting to place huge bets, but when it is not done in moderation you will eventually end up chasing your very own losses.
Symptoms of problem gambling
Many people enjoy gambling but for many, gambling can lead to a variety of problems and worse yet addiction. Therefore, if you know of someone or think that they may have a compulsive gambling disorder, read on to find out about the tell-tale symptoms of the disorder:
- New or unpaid credit cards – With gambling, you need to have cash to gamble with. Some individuals become so desperate for cash that they may apply for new credit cards. However, this has proven to be rather problematic for many. Therefore, when taking out new credit it is important that you are able to repay your outstanding balances every month, to avoid incurring additional costs.
- Not sharing gambling activities out of fear of being judged – If you find that you have an issue with sharing your gambling experiences with friends and family. You might have a problem, when gambling is done in moderation; experiences are relatively easy to share. However, someone with a gambling addiction may find it difficult to share this information with their nearest and dearest.
- You have arguments about money with your family – At some point in our lives, we are all bound to experience financial related issues from time to time. However, when gambling causes friction within your family, perhaps you have used the grocery money to gamble and now your family has no food to eat. This would be a tell-tale sign that you may be in need of help.
- Struggling to focus at work or school – Individuals with a compulsive gambling disorder regularly think about gambling. These thoughts consume them and other areas of their lives in turn suffer. Therefore, if you find yourself being distracted with thoughts of gambling, then you may have a gambling problem.
- You can’t imagine taking a day off of gambling – As previously mentioned; gambling is often done in your free time. Therefore, you should be able to stop and take breaks if and when needed. However, if you feel like you cannot cope without gambling, you might have a problem.
- Considering breaking the law to have money to gamble – If you ever run out of cash and the thought of stealing money has crossed your mind, you may have a problem and we strongly encourage you to seek help. This kind of action will only lead to worse problems in your life.
- You abandon your hobbies – Hobbies are a great source of enjoyment in our lives. It’s important to have a healthy hobby, particularly ones that encourage socializing and exercise. If you’ve found that your gambling means you’re spending less time with your hobby, then you may need to get help for a compulsive gambling disorder.
- Believing that your next gambling session will be different – After losing, constantly believing that your next session will be different can be problematic. Often this mindset sets people up for disaster, as they genuinely believe that gambling is a quick fix for their financial problems. However, excessive gambling can be more damaging for those with a gambling addiction and seeking help would be the best solution for you.
What can you do to protect yourself from gambling addiction problems?
As previously mentioned, some people are more at risk of developing a gambling addiction in comparison to others. Therefore, there are measures that you can take to avoid developing a gambling compulsive disorder. Thus, if you believe that you may be at risk of developing this disorder, we have some valuable steps that you may take to avoid this:
- Set a Gambling Limit on Your Account – Did you know that most online casinos will allow you to set up some kind of limit on your account? These mean that the amounts you can deposit and bet each month will be limited to the amount you set. Therefore, this serves as a great way to keep track of exactly how much you’re betting, spending and also aids you in making sure that gambling isn’t taking too much of your budget. Thus, everyone who enjoys gambling should set an account limit as it just makes a lot of sense.
- Enable to Reality Check Option – Many online casinos allow you to set a reality check, this check pops up after a certain amount of time. This amazing feature allows you to set just how long you want to gamble, be it a hour or two. It will pop up once the time you set expires, letting you know how long you’ve been playing and it gives you the option to stop. Reality checks are a great feature, especially if you tend to lose track of time whilst playing.
- Self-exclusion – People who have developed signs of problem gambling and need to take a break can set up a self-exclusion. This clever feature allows you to block yourself from accessing your account on a casino for a certain amount of time. Most casinos will have options to block your account for between a week and a year. Make sure to use it should you find yourself struggling at some point in time.
- Visit Responsible Gambling Sites – There are many online casinos that exist today. So, if you need more resources to help solve your problem gambling or would just like to learn more about the condition and how to prevent it, there are lots of resources available online. Here we provide you with helpful links:
The site offers a responsible gambling environment by providing accessible programs that both manage and minimize the potentially harmful effects of gambling in South Africa.
South African Responsible Gambling Foundation
The foundation provides free and confidential treatment as well as counselling to those affected by problem gambling, along with their immediate family members. In the past 18 Years the SARGF has treated more than 18, 500 people to date.
Gamblers Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem & help others to do the same.