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Play in Moderation
A hobby among many, gambling is an exciting experience; but, as with most things, it must be enjoyed in moderation. It’s no secret that gambling can be addictive, and it can be difficult to distance yourself from a pastime that boasts the potential outcome of cold, hard cash, and lots of it. It’s not always easy to pinpoint when the thrill of gambling turns into an addiction. The rule of thumb is to pay close attention to a transition from gambling for pure enjoyment, and doing so out of compulsion. The last thing you want this exciting experience to do is lead you down a road to financial ruin.
Some players may be more susceptible to developing a habit than others. Those aware of relatives with gambling addiction, or who are struggling with anxiety, depression, personality disorders, and even boredom, should be especially cautious.
Below, we have provided a series of red flags that may indicate an addiction:
- Gambling to escape reality
- Excessive play
- Stealing money to gamble
- Creating lies to cover up your habit
- Gambling when you cannot afford to
- Family and friends have expressed concerns
- Using borrowed money to gamble
- A change in personality with progression of gambling
- Chasing losses
If you identify with one or more of these symptoms, you may have a gambling addiction.
Be Honest with Yourself
It is easy for compulsive players to convince themselves that they are not gambling regularly (i.e. daily or weekly), and therefore, do not have a problem. While gambling constantly is certainly an indication of having an addiction, it is not the sole indicator. Binge players don’t need to play constantly. They may go once in a while, but they spend well beyond their means, more than making up for lost time. In this case, it is typically a trigger, something stressful in the player’s personal life, which sets them on a gambling binge, as a means to escape. This type of play is equally as dangerous as those who gamble consistently.
Seek the Proper Help
If you feel you have an addiction and can identify with any of the information listed above, don’t hesitate to ask for help, and gain control of your life again. Various support organizations are available. Visit the following sites for more information: gamblersanonymous.org , responsiblegambling.org , gamtalk.org .
Other options are available on a national or state level:
ncpgambling.org, ncpgambling.org, gamcare.org.uk, problemgambling.ca, pgf.nz.
For those who are ready to seek help, but are not quite ready to go public, there are anonymous options. There are 24/7 help lines offering instant support. They may also provide individuals with information regarding workshops, therapy sessions, and other outlets. There’s no shame in seeking help to get back to a healthier place.
Written by: Michael Shackleford