Gambling addiction has become an important problem in our society and is creating social problems between people. The problem starts when it’s becoming pathological and you feel the need to continue to gamble despite everything that is happening around you. This impulse that you feel has a medical explanation.
There are many reasons why gambling addiction appears and why people are doing it, mostly because lack of money and the mirage of winning an important sum in a short period of time. Researchers from the University of Maryland Medical Center have defined pathological gamblers as persons who can’t refuse the impulse for this activity, a behavior which leads to social and personal consequences. When do you know that you are addicted? There are some symptoms which can appear and it is said that if you have five of them that means that you are a pathological gambler.
- You are gambling because you are looking for a way of escaping and to have a better mood.
- You are frequently thinking at this subjects, about what you did wrong, where to gamble next.
- Tolerance. It becomes a problem when you are starting to have a tolerance at this and after losing some money you are not so depressed any more.
- Winning back. When you are trying very hard to get your money back and you continue to gamble.
- When the lies start it means that you are going on the path of becoming addicted. You start to lie your family about your gambling problems, about the money you have spent, you don’t tell them when and where are you going.
- Taking money from other persons. This is the moment when you are always trying a way to get some money in order to support your gambling. You ask your family your friends, anybody that you thing might help you.
- Another thing that appears is that you are becoming willing to break your relationship in favor of gambling. You are having family problems, you don’t have friends anymore, and this makes it even more difficult to resist gambling.
- Trying but not succeeding in quitting gambling. It will come very often for you to try and stop gambling but all the efforts will have the same results.
These are the things that a gambler will fell when he is starting to become addicted to this type of activities. This thing can vary from a person to another and it doesn’t mean that you will experience all these problems.
So, in the first part of the article I have presented the effects that people are showing when they gamble, how they start to lie to their family, borrow money just to continue gambling. The problem with pathological gamblers is that they don’t know how to control their impulses, it is the same impulse with the pyromania, kleptomania, you are doing it but the reason why it’s not very clear in your mind. A survey on gamblers was made in Illinois by the Gambler Anonymous society and 184 people were involved in it. The results showed that from the persons who were interviewed 56 percent of them did illegal acts in order to get money for gambling and 44 percent admitted to sole money from their employer.
Having problems with money and screwing up your social life is something bad, but the worst thing appears when people are committing suicide because of their problems. This is the last step of addiction and unfortunately there are people who are taking it. This happens in most of the countries, for example in 2010 in Australia at Alfred’s Hospital, 17% of the people who were suicidal patients said that they are gamblers. In the US there is a National Council on Gambling Problems and they declared that one out of five pathological gamblers attempts suicide.
What is important to know for people who are or becoming pathological gamblers is that they can ask for help and there are special institutions who are handling these type of cases. GA, Gamblers Anonymous are using a 12 step program which is based on counseling and therapy for the gamblers. There are many types of therapy, for example the CBT, cognitive behavioral therapy has shown some effects on this matters. What is important is to be able to recognize the step in which you are and to ask for help from other people and institutions.