Many people suffering from a gambling addiction feel alone. Perhaps you think that no one could possibly understand what it’s like to be you. However, you are not alone and others know exactly what you are going through. This feeling is so common that the mental health field has a name for it – gambling disorder. Psychology Today’s website estimates 3.5% of the American population have gambling disorder – and that’s just in America.
There are many misconceptions about compulsive gambling. The biggest is that only people of weak character become gambling addicts. The fact is that gambling addiction is a mental illness. Mental illness can happen to anyone. If anyone reading this wonders if he or she may be addicted to sports betting, check for these three signs.
1. Betting Becomes Your Whole World
Is having a wager now and then a sign of addiction? Not when it is just a few times a year or even once a week. Psych Guides describes gambling to the gambling addict as being “compelled” to keep on gambling, even if there is no chance of ever recouping the cost of bets. Some addicts purposefully lose their winnings in bad bets because the urge to bet is stronger than even the urge to win.
The gambling addict does not manage to bet every day but wants to. Life becomes finding money to make a bet and making the wager. Everything takes a back seat to the wager – job, school, family, friends, reputation and health.
2. Chasing the High
No one wakes up one day and thinks, “I’ll become an addict.” Becoming an addict often happens involuntarily. Just why some people can have a bet and not become an addict while others do is unknown, so it is difficult to prevent. Right now, the focus in the mental health field is on treating addictions and not pointing fingers except at one thing – chasing the high.
The “high” is not always a nice sensation. It is often just a release of tensions. For example, you have seen what smokers are like when they cannot have access to their cigarettes. They are the definition of the word tense. The only thing that can calm them down and get them back to “normal” is by smoking. This is what happens to gambling addicts too. Instead of taking that first drag, they make a bet in person or online.
3. Money For Nothing
The most tragic sign of sports betting addiction is how the addict finds ways to get money for the next wager. This time everyone connected to the addict becomes affected. The Mayo Clinic states that people suffering from gambling disorder will lie and steal from anyone and anything to get the money. If you have borrowed a lot of money from family and friends that you can never pay back then you are suffering from a gambling addiction. If you are not eating regularly, going to the doctor or paying your bills because that takes money away from your gambling, then you definitely have a problem. Gambling takes over your life like a puppeteer moves a puppet.
Another problem is that it often takes larger and larger wagers or more wagers per day or session to get the same high that just one wager used to give. This is similar to what happens to people taking drugs from the benzodiazepine family like alprazolam. The body gets used to the drug so the patient needs to take higher and higher doses until there is a crisis.
There are many sports betting websites that make you want to get into betting after learning how easy it is to bet. If the three signs of a gambling addiction sound like you, talk to your doctor as soon as possible. The bad news is that gambling disorder is a serious mental illness that could take control of your life. The good news is that gambling disorder is treatable through a combination of medications and therapies.
Featured photo credit: Fancy Crave via unsplash.com
|||^||Psychology Today: Gambling Much? How to Figure out if You’ve got a Problem|
|||^||Psych Guides: Signs and Symptoms of a Gambling Addiction|
|||^||Mayo Clinic: Overview: Compulsive Gambling|