15th Jun2020

Gambling Addiction: What a mistake!

by James Smith

Gambling can be fun. But when you begin to get too much involved with it, affecting your personal and professional life, it is addiction. It is as compulsive as substance abuse! Gambling addiction is also known as pathological gambling or compulsive gambling. It is an impulse-control disorder. That means that one with this addiction has an impulse or compulsive attitude to gamble, no matter what the situation is.

According to a report, around 1.2 billion pounds are lost in gambling every year in the UK alone. In the age group of 18-24, 12.2% risk gambling more than £100/month. This is an alarming rate. The trend is even more disturbing taking into account that most people are locked indoors because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

These gambling sites have websites and apps that allow them to play even from their homes. If you thought that betting on sports and gambling are two different things, then you are wrong. On the fundamental level, both are the same. Obsession with one leads to the other. You would be surprised to know that people who regularly bet on sports are 3.9 times more likely to gamble.

Easy availability of internet, gambling sites, and betting apps has led to more people falling into the trap. It has majorly affected people in the age group 18-24. They do not know the exact functioning of these gambling sites and easily fall for making some quick money. People need to understand that just because you have got money, gambling addiction is not okay. It is an emotional issue that ultimately leads to financial issues. You cannot justify mindless gambling 24×7.

Harmful effects of gambling addiction

Just like alcohol addiction or substance abuse has a detrimental effect; gambling addiction also has its fair share of effects:

  • Problems at the workplace and personal life
  • Financial issues: This is most notable. The addict practically loses every penny in gambling. They may lose savings, their home, and leave their family in despair.
  • Emotional issues: Depression. Anxiety, insomnia, etc. accompany this addiction.
  • Stealing: Addicts may steal money from their family, friends, and co-workers.
  • Illegal activities: When addicted, people agree to do anything to get money. They may get involved in illegal activities.

How do I diagnose gambling addiction?

Gambling addiction needs you to notice the behavioral pattern. Look out for these signs in the player. According to psychologists, a person is classed as gambling addict if they show 4 or more of these symptoms in the last 1 year:

  • Lying about gambling: This is the first red sign for addiction. If you are lying about gambling, you are already addicted or on the road to it. Lying indicates that you understand gambling is harming you but you cannot control the urge.
  • Always thinking about gambling: If you are always thinking about gambling, better moves, or strategies, you are not a pro but an addict. Gambling should be taken just as a game. If you are too involved, you are addicted.
  • Spending all of leisure time on gambling: Other than the professional commitments, when people get time, they spend it with their family and friends. But when one suffers from a gambling disorder, they tend to spend all of their time, sometimes even the work hours, in gambling. This leads to problems on both fronts. Despite this, the addict cannot control himself/herself from gambling.
  • Consistent gambling: One of the tell-tale signs of a gambling addict is their continuous gambling despite losing money. They do not stop even after losing a considerable amount.
    Borrowing money for gambling: When one gets addicted to gambling, they do it even if they do not have money. They tend to borrow it for friends, family, and acquaintances. At this point, they even lose the sense of responsibility that they need to return this amount.
  • Getting excited from gambling more: This is like substance abuse. The person gets an adrenaline rush by increasing the gambling amount. If you notice this behavioral pattern in yourself or anyone known, consult a psychiatrist immediately.
  • Withdrawal symptoms: You must have heard about withdrawal symptoms in alcoholics and drug-addicts. Gambling addiction has the same psychological effect. The person gets irritated, frustrated, and depressed when they fail to gamble. They get restless to resume gambling again.
  • Failed attempts to get rid of the habit: There are times when the person knows that they are addicted to gambling and sincerely want to get rid of it. But fail to do so. They may have tried to stop it multiple times but after a few days, they think that gambling once will not harm. This one time multiplies in no time and they are back to square one.

What triggers this addiction?

There is no hard and fast rule to this. Anyone of any age can get into this vicious circle. However, there are few noticed triggers:

  • Biological factors: Scientists believe that genetic and neurological factors affect gambling behavior. Also, the presence of other addictions triggers this addiction. Drugs like anti-dopamine or psychotic drugs also increase the chance of person taking such compulsive decisions.
  • Emotional factors: A person who is depressed, lonely, experienced trauma and anxiety and is undergoing stress is more likely to gamble
  • Environmental factors: When a person has friends or family members who are gamble addict, they tend to become one

How does it get treated?

Gambling addiction can be treated by 3 approaches:

  • Therapy: Resorting to cognitive behavioral therapy helps in getting rid of this habit
  • Medications: The psychiatrist may prescribe mood depressants, narcotic antagonists, and tranquilizers to ease the symptoms and get rid of the habit.
  • Self-help groups: Community approach also helps in getting rid of this habit.

Gambling addiction needs to be managed as early as possible. Responsible gaming sites like betfred.com/events/sports/football/bundesliga provide information about Bundesliga events while also helping gamers not get addicted to betting. If you are a Bundesliga fan, then betfred.com would be your ultimate website to responsible gaming.
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