Gambling Problems – What Are the Symptoms of a Gambling Problem?
Gambling is an activity where people place bets on random events with the hope of winning something of value. People can gamble on anything from horse races, sports events, casino games and even the lottery. However, despite its widespread popularity and high profits, gambling can cause many serious problems, including mental health issues and financial difficulties. People who have a gambling problem often experience the following symptoms: – Feelings of guilt, anxiety or depression; – Lying to friends, family members or therapists about how much they’re gambling; – Spending more time gambling than on other activities; – Lies to family and friends about money spent on gambling; – Being unable to stop gambling, even after losing significant amounts of money; – Risking personal or professional relationships in order to continue gambling; – Chasing losses by wagering additional money on the same event; – Committing illegal acts, such as forgery or embezzlement, to fund gambling activities; – Jeopardizing or compromising job, education or career opportunities to gamble; – Hiding evidence of gambling from loved ones; and – Spending large amounts of time gambling to distract themselves from other worries or concerns.
Regardless of the type of game or method, all forms of gambling are risky. In fact, a person’s chance of winning is very slim – the average house edge in casinos is 1 percent. Those who aren’t careful can lose their hard-earned cash in a matter of minutes. However, if someone manages to control their urges and plays responsibly, gambling can be a fun pastime.
Studies have shown that gambling can boost happiness and reduce boredom when done in moderation. For example, a study by the Behavior analysis and therapy program at Southern Illinois University showed that people who gambled for entertainment reported higher levels of happiness than those who didn’t. The excitement associated with gambling can also help to relieve stress and tension.
While gambling is an exciting and fulfilling pastime, it’s important to set limits on how much you spend and how long you play for. Only gamble with money you can afford to lose and don’t use money for other expenses like your phone bill or rent. It’s also helpful to learn to soothe unpleasant feelings in healthier ways, such as exercising, spending time with friends who don’t gamble, and practicing relaxation techniques.
If you have a gambling addiction, it’s important to seek treatment as soon as possible. There are a number of options for gambling treatment, from support groups to residential and inpatient rehab programs. The earlier you seek help, the sooner you can reclaim your life.