Gambling Addiction, Prevention, & Treatment Options
Our goal at OCBB is to provide a fun, exciting, and rewarding experience to gamblers everywhere. This includes providing the best information in respect to gaming and online casinos. Gambling is entertaining and enjoyable when done responsibly, but we also recognize the reality of gambling addiction and its effects on people’s lives. We encourage everyone who uses OCBB to gamble responsibly, but should you find yourself struggling with addiction, know that we are here to help.
It’s never too late to turn gambling addiction around, so please use these resources to get help and increase awareness if you or someone you know does struggle with gambling addiction. The well-being of our visitors is our number one priority.
Gambling Addiction Explained
The Mayo Clinic refers to gambling addiction as compulsive gambling and describes it as the uncontrollable urge to continue gambling no matter the toll it takes on your life. It’s important to know that compulsive gambling has nothing to do with how much you win or lose. A player who continually loses may not be an addict, and a player who often wins might still suffer from gambling addiction. Instead, it has less to do with your bank account (though it’s still an important factor) and more to do with the effect it has on your relationships with friends and family.
Symptoms of Gambling Addiction
Gambling addiction is a serious condition and should be treated in the same manner as a drug or alcohol addiction, as the symptoms and effects can often be similar. Some of the telltale signs of gambling addiction include:
- Increasingly larger gambling risks over time
- Preoccupation with gambling, skipping other obligations
- Gambling to escape problems or negative emotions
- Spending time away from family to gamble
- Lying about gambling and covering up losses
- Borrowing money or even stealing to keep gambling
- Failed efforts to quit or cut back
Addiction can happen at any time, but it often starts casually and plunges into a full-blown addiction during a time of high stress or depression. It’s moments like these in which you should be aware of whether you’re gambling casually and responsibly.
For most people suffering from gambling addiction, it’s less about the money and more about the thrill. That’s why it doesn’t matter if you win or lose, people who suffer from addiction will continue to gamble no matter the outcome.
Extreme & Dangerous Symptoms
Unfortunately, for some, gambling addiction can cross from harmful to physically or legally dangerous in the most extreme cases. If you or someone you know shows these symptoms, contact a mental health care professional immediately:
- Commit fraud or theft to steal money for gambling
- Stealing from loved ones specifically
- Asking friends and family to bail out gambling debts
- Thoughts of suicide due to the negative effects of addiction
You should not ignore severe symptoms like these. But as bad as they appear, there is still hope to fight addiction head on and turn even the worst circumstances in a positive direction.
At Risk Demographics
Who are the most at risk of suffering from gambling addiction? While anyone is susceptible to compulsive gambling under the most unfortunate circumstances, it is more likely to occur with young to middle-aged men, especially if someone else in their family also suffered from a gambling addiction. This can happen to anyone, but the demographic described is statistically more at risk than others.
Counseling & Treatment Resources
It’s always easier to stop addiction before it starts. That’s why Prevention Lane (preventionlane.org/prevention-topics/problem-gambling-prevention)(Lane County Public Health), a non-profit organization, works with people who show early signs of gambling addiction so they can stop a problem in its tracks before it becomes severe. The website has plenty of tips and educational resources to help people identify a problem and cut back or even quit gambling if necessary.
Help & Treatment
If a gambling addiction issue is beyond prevention, you or someone you know could benefit from an inpatient or outpatient treatment program. The National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) can help you locate a treatment facility in your state. They also offer online resources online to help with addiction (as well as prevention resources, in addition to Prevention Lane) and has a 24-hour confidential hotline. If you need to talk to a professional about your problem, you can reach the NCPG at 800-522-4700 or even talk to someone on the live chat facility on its website.
Therapy & Mental Health Care
You don’t necessarily need a professional who specializes in gambling addiction to help with your recovery. Any psychiatrist, psychologist, or certified therapist can help talk you through treatment for a gambling addiction. There are cases when they might prescribe medication to help with the depression and anxiety that often follows compulsive gambling, but that’s not always the case. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) can help you locate a therapist in your area and schedule appointments to get started. Even if you don’t immediately discuss gambling addiction, it’s important to talk to someone.
It’s a grim reality, but some people do choose to take their lives due to severe consequences from gambling addictions. Don’t let yourself or a loved one become part of this statistic. Befrienders Worldwide is a non-profit organization dedicated to connecting with people who have suicidal thoughts, whether they relate to gambling addiction or not, and to be a friend to anyone in need. If you or someone you know shows any signs of suicidal thoughts, contact Befrienders Worldwide immediately and talk to someone who can help.
Please take these resources as a form of education rather than fear. Most people gamble responsibly without any problems or addictions. So don’t take this as a sign not to gamble, but instead to be aware of the signs that lead to addiction. If you or anyone you know shows these signs of gambling addiction, don’t wait. Seek help immediately so you can solve the issue before it takes hold of your life.