Symptoms and Signs of Gambling Addiction
Gambling is a game of chance that involves risk and often requires skill to win. It can include betting on sporting events, lottery games, and gambling on business or insurance markets.
While the majority of people gamble for fun and entertainment, some individuals become addicted to gambling. These people have a problem with their behaviour and need professional help. They may also have a mental health issue or a financial crisis that makes them seek support for their addiction.
Symptoms and signs of gambling addiction vary widely between people, and it can be hard to tell if you are suffering from a problem. You can get help from a therapist to find out if you have a gambling problem. If you have a loved one who is struggling with a gambling problem, talk to them about their behaviour and find out how to support them.
It’s a good idea to set some limits on your gambling. Decide how much money you can spend on gambling and how long you can play for, then stick to them. If you do go over your limits, stop immediately. This will ensure that you don’t lose more money than you can afford to lose.
You should also try to avoid using gambling as an escape from problems. It’s often linked to feelings of anxiety and depression. If you are feeling stressed, it might be better to spend time with your family instead of gambling.
There are many reasons why people gamble, but most of them involve the brain’s reward system. The rewards can be a change in mood, a dream of winning a jackpot or social interaction.
The euphoria you feel when you win a big prize can also be addictive. This is a normal reaction to excitement, but it can lead to harmful behaviours and feelings of emptiness.
Behavioral and psychophysiological signs of a gambling addiction can range from none to very severe, depending on the person’s circumstances. Typically, these signs are tolerance (needs to gamble with increasing amounts of money in order to achieve the desired excitement), withdrawal (restless or irritable when trying to cut down or stop) and preoccupation with gambling.
Some people are able to control their urges by using distraction techniques or other strategies to limit their gambling. These people are sometimes called ‘gamblers in recovery’.
If you or a loved one is experiencing a gambling problem, it can be a difficult journey to overcome. It can be tempting to try to minimise or deny your gambling, but if it starts to affect your relationships or life, it is important to seek help.
It’s also important to remember that if you do have a problem with gambling, it isn’t your fault. It’s normal to lose money, but if you are losing too much or are finding it harder to resist your urges, talk to someone about it.
It’s important to remember that all forms of gambling are inherently risky and can cause harm if you don’t use them responsibly. If you are unsure about how to gamble safely, find out more about gambling from the Responsible Gambling Council.