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Problem Gambling

Responsible gambling is crucial to prevent you from mismanaging your finances, harming yourself, and financially and emotionally damaging loved ones, even though it may be enjoyable when you win.

Statistics show that 7.3 percent of Canadians aged 18 to 24 have a gambling problem, and 6 percent of all Canadian gamblers are thought to be dependent on gambling.

For whatever reason, players continue to joke around about problem gambling. What exactly is gambling addiction?

Well, it’s when someone continues to gamble impulsively despite the fact that it interferes with many elements of their lives. Even though the consequences of losing can be disastrous, a person with a gambling issue will risk their time and hard-earned money on a wager.

Problem Gambling Statistics

According to a study, 2% of all Canadian gamblers have openly acknowledged having a gambling problem. According to the same survey, 15% of these gamblers didn’t feel they had.

Whether they acknowledge it or not, many people suffer from gambling addiction, which has obvious warning symptoms.

These signs include:

  • Selecting gambling over other fun activities
  • Missing or arriving late to appointments
  • Unpaid bills as a result of gambling with funds intended for bill payment
  • Lack of socializing with friends due to gambling
  • Mood changes

3.2% of Canadians, according to the Gambling Institute of Ontario, regularly engage in pathological gambling.

Causes

Ideally, the main motivation for gambling is to increase the amount of money won. There are numerous additional reasons why individuals gamble, though.

Gambling is important to note that there is no one reason why people gamble or become addicted to it because motives differ from person to person.

According to research, many Parkinson’s disease patients who take medication also tend to develop impulse-control issues, such as excessive gambling, sexual behaviour, and impulse shopping.

The increased dopamine activity in the human brain is thought to be responsible for the association between Parkinson’s disease treatment and the behaviours mentioned above.

Another factor that may contribute to compulsive gambling is bipolar disorder. Gamblers frequently spend extravagantly, which leads them to wager enormous sums of money.

A person’s thinking process and biological weaknesses can both contribute to gambling addiction. It might also be influenced by medical illnesses like schizophrenia and antisocial personality disorder. Alcohol and cocaine dependence can also lead to compulsive gambling urges.

According to several studies, individuals with low brain serotonin levels are more likely than those with high levels to develop pathological gambling addictions.

Symptoms of Gambling Problems

There are a number of indicators that someone has a gambling issue. The key indicators of a gambling issue are listed below.

Emotional Signs

People who have gambling issues frequently struggle to control their emotions. When losses mount, people tend to act aggressively and angrily, even when the circumstances don’t really call for it.

Behavioural Signs

A pathological gambler may display particular attitudes that weren’t previously part of their personality.

For instance, while anticipating the outcome of a wager, a gambler addict may exhibit exceptionally high levels of tension or anxiety. As they wait for the outcome of their wagers, they might also start spending more time alone, probably on their phones.

Financial Signs

A gambling addict will face financial difficulties. This is due to the fact that they wager money intended for another use. If they lose the wager, they will be encouraged to stake larger sums in an effort to recover the money they lost on earlier wagers.

The cycle will continue if they continue to lose.

A person may start stealing or borrowing money due to a pathological gambling disorder.

Health Signs

A gambling addiction can cause insomnia, panic attacks, jitters, and anxiety.

Gambling addicts may ignore their desires at times, leading them to consume unhealthy food or less food than necessary.

The symptoms displayed by gambling addicts would be the next step after learning the symptoms of problem gambling.

One or more of the following could be signs of a gambling problem:

  • Showing an interest in a number of gaming sites
  • Gambling when you don’t have a current need for money
  • Avoiding obligations like work or family visits in favour of gambling
  • Stealing money to gamble from loved ones
  • Using funds intended for other obligations to gamble.

Triggers

As difficult as it may be to imagine, many people who develop gambling addictions are typically respectable members of society, from gifted children to educated adults. Everyone is included.

The following circumstances could lead someone to become addicted to gambling:

Stress

Trauma

Depression

Anxiety

Loneliness

Studies show that someone who has one addiction is highly likely to get another.

This means that persons who are addicted to illegal substances or alcohol (and there are a lot of them) also frequently get dependent on gambling.

According to research, using specific prescription medications can raise a person’s risk of developing an addiction to gambling.

However, not everyone who gambles has a drug or alcohol addiction. There are still gambling addicts who are in good health.

How to Stay Safe?

Gambling isn’t a problem unless someone makes it one to be. Fortunately, there are precautions you may do to prevent developing a problematic gambling habit.

To gamble more sensibly, go by these recommendations:

Think of gambling as entertainment rather than a way to get money. You’d be better off than someone who actively gambles because they see it as a method to generate money if you occasionally gamble for fun.

Bet just what you can afford to lose. Don’t bet with money you can’t afford to lose, especially if the funds were intended for something more important.

Avoid chasing your losses. A gambler who is chasing losses may place larger bets in an effort to recover lost funds. It’s advisable to go on and try your luck again another day if you lose a wager.

When your emotions are raw or you’re drunk, avoid gambling.

Play only when you’re mentally clear. When you bet when you’re intoxicated or angry, you’ll probably make bad choices and possibly wager more money than you can afford to lose.

Treatment

Early intervention is essential to prevent a person exhibiting the early signs of gambling addiction from developing a more severe addiction over time.

Addiction to gambling does not have a specific treatment. The course of treatment will depend on the person’s particular circumstances and the extent of their gambling addiction. By understanding the value of and the meaning of money, gambling addiction can be addressed.

A compulsive gambler might start to view alternate uses of money if they become convinced that the funds used for gambling would perform better if they were saved or invested.

The next step after coming to this awareness would be to give up gambling entirely. Another thing that will assist is avoiding friends who gamble.

The compulsive gambler needs to cease viewing sporting events that could influence their decision to put bets.

Finally, a gambling addict can learn to resist impulse gambling by participating in a rehabilitation program.

Self-Help Tools

You can use self-help tools to stop your gambling addiction.

Watch Your Gambling Temptations. By repeatedly reminding yourself of the problems gambling addiction has brought you in the past, you can control your urges to gamble.

You can also track your gambling frequency using online tools.

Mobile app. You can use a number of mobile apps on Android and iOS to reduce your desire to gamble.

These apps, which are designed to prevent access to any gambling websites on your phone, were created by renowned psychologists and psychiatrists.

Public forum. By participating in a community forum, you can interact with people who are struggling with gambling issues and those who are attempting to assist them.

Members can share encouragement for quitting and discuss their progress in the forum.

Self-Support for Gamblers. There are interactive tools you may use if you’re a problem gambler to cut back on how often you play or break the habit altogether.

Family and friend self-help. There are interactive mobile applications you may use to understand why a loved one is addicted to gambling and learn strategies you can take to break the habit.

Residential Treatment

For a variety of reasons, people favour treatment institutions. These include:

They have faith in the skills of rehab specialists.

As opposed to a busy family member who might not have the time due to work and other commitments, the professionals are committed to following up on their patients’ progress.

The patient won’t have access to any gambling sites while in a recovery facility.

In residential treatment, behaviour changes and progress are tracked.

Each person would require a different period of time for residential treatment to be effective. This is due to the fact that different levels of addiction exist.

Typically, persons in need of treatment for gambling addiction can sign up for a 30-day program, a 60-day program, or a 90-day program.

Gambling Problems: Myths and Facts

There are many myths about gambling, but not all of them are true.

Myth 1: A problem gambler plays permanently.

Fact 1: They might only bet once or twice a week. The detrimental effects that gambling has on their lives and the lives of their loved ones, however, are what really contribute to their gambling issue.

Myth 2: It is not a problem gambling if the player can afford it.

Fact 2: Losing money is one of gambling’s biggest drawbacks, but it’s not the only one. It is problem gambling if it ruins your relationships with your loved ones, regardless of your ability to absorb the losses.

Myth 3: Problem gamblers wager whenever they get the chance and on any platform.

Fact 3: No, not always. Some problem gamblers have specific preferences for the sports or betting sites they use.

Problem Gambling: Verdict

According to statistics, there are roughly 6% of problem gamblers in Canada’s gambling population.

A problem gambler is someone who continues to gamble despite the fact that it interferes with various important elements of their lives. Work, family, money, and social ties are a few of these.

Stealing money, skipping work or other commitments, selling possessions, lying, worrying, and elevated stress levels are all signs of problematic gambling.

Peer pressure, alcohol consumption, illegal drug use, and even other mental illnesses are among the causes of habit formation.

There are self-help strategies one can use to address gambling issues. Joining forums and communities as well as employing mobile monitoring apps are some of them.

Some urban legends attempt to downplay the reality of problematic gambling. However, it is still true that gambling is wrong as long as it negatively impacts a person’s life. Additionally, it needs to be checked when it’s problematic.