Responsible Gambling

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Gambling is thrilling, exciting, and fun. Our heart rates increase whenever we are getting close to a win. However, the thought of winning a certain amount of money may lead some people to irresponsible gambling. Some will spend a lot of money on the activity, and in no time, they become addicts.

Gambling becomes a problem in this case. It is where safe gambling sets in. this review covers the meaning of responsible gambling, signs of gambling addiction, treatment, etc.

Definition of Responsible Gambling

Responsible gambling is about being keen when doing so. It should not affect your daily activities negatively. For instance, if you have set aside a certain amount for gambling, ensure that you gamble within that budget. 

Anything beyond this amount is termed as irresponsible gambling. To be a responsible gambler, ensure that you strictly follow these guidelines:

  • Work within the stipulated budget for gambling.
  • Do not gamble with emotions. In these games, there are wins and losses.
  • Pay attention to the playing time. Always gamble when you are free.
  • Play with an entertainment attitude. Do not risk big money, hoping to win big.
  • Always view gambling as a recreation. It would be best if you did it for entertainment and fun.

Gambling Addiction

It is also known as Ludomania which means impulse control disorder. It is a harmful disorder since you cannot stop gambling even when it negatively affects you. Gambling addiction occurs in different ways.

The symptoms differ from one person to the other. It depends on the gambling activity you are involved in. Initially, gambling started as an entertainment platform. If it begins affecting your everyday activities, you become a gambling addict.

It is worth noting that being a gambling addict does not mean you have lost the ability to manage your gambling desire. Some can manage their gambling addiction problems and even hide them from others.

Nevertheless, you still have a gambling addiction if your gambling-related activities affect your daily tasks. Gambling addiction is in different ways:

Compulsive gambling– in this type, gamblers lose much control over their addiction. They cannot keep their desire and gambling urges under control. Compulsive gamblers are caught up in gambling addiction without noticing its effect on their lives.

Their actions lead to loss of money and bad relationship with friends and family. Lastly, they are dangerous risk-takers who can use any amount to sustain their gambling activities.

Binge gambling– this type of gambling is the reverse of compulsive. Gamblers here have some sense of control. They can go for several weeks or months without displaying addiction signs and symptoms. However, the addiction is still with them.

Their addictive behavior comes from nowhere and starts causing problems. These gamblers have a certain period where they gamble irresponsibly and consume a lot of money. When the addictive behavior appears, the person becomes unstoppable unless drastic measures are taken.

Problem gambling– in this scenario, a person continually thinks about loss-chasing or gambling. In most cases, problem gamblers can control their gambling urges, preventing gambling from affecting their daily activities. 

It does not mean that being a problem gambler is great. It is the least aggressive form among the other types of gambling addiction.

Signs and Symptoms of Gambling Addiction

Gambling addiction signs and symptoms are not always obvious. In most cases, they are faint in problem and binge gamblers and easily noticeable in compulsive gamblers. Some of these signs are an indication of a possible gambling addiction problem.

To be diagnosed as a gambling addict, a gambler should exhibit at least four common gambling signs within one year. This is according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders standard. These signs and symptoms include:

  1. Overspending money– if you are overusing your money (spending more than you had budgeted for) in gambling. 
  2. Losing relationships- if you realize that your gambling habit makes you lose family and friends.
  3. Keeping gambling activities hidden from friends and family.
  4. Debts over gambling- if you find yourself in debt due to gambling.
  5. Failing repeatedly to control, stopping, or minimizing gambling activities.
  6. Having preoccupied thoughts around gambling and making plans for your next gambling activity.
  7. Uneasiness and unusual agitation when trying to avoid gambling activities consciously.
  8. Suffering setbacks at your workplace due to gambling addiction.
  9. Loss of interest in other activities- human beings are social beings in nature. If you have zero interest in other activities besides gambling, there is a problem.
  10. Indulging in gambling activities due to emotional validation, such as anxiety, distress, guilt, and depression.

If you exhibit at least four of the above symptoms, you should seek professional help from a mental health expert. A psychiatrist will determine whether you have symptoms of another mental health disorder or gambling addiction.

Most people with gambling addiction problems may have other mental health diseases like depression, substance use, bipolar, and ADHD disorders.

What is the Treatment for Gambling Addiction?

Quitting gambling is not an easy thing, but it is not impossible. It may take weeks, months, or years depending on the severity of your gambling addiction. The following are some of the gambling addiction treatments.

Therapy– the most obvious thing for a gambler seeking treatment is to go for therapy. Psychotherapy is a tried and tested remedy for gambling addiction. It is a series of counseling lessons by a well-trained psychiatrist or therapist. They assist you in managing gambling habits and behaviors that bring you down. 

Medication– certain medications control the constant urge to gamble. It is thanks to the changes in medical research. The medication minimizes a gambler’s desire to go online to casinos and sites or indulge in daily gambling activities.

Anti-seizure and antidepressants are the medication that helps in this regard. Consult a medical expert to be administered the correct drugs.

Self-Help Strategies for Curbing Gambling Addiction

The first step to dealing with gambling addictions is to accept that you have a problem. Afterward, you will make conscious efforts to deal with it. In this section, we shall highlight several self-help strategies that will assist you in stopping your gambling addiction.

Take a break– if you feel that gambling is no longer giving you a fun experience, it is always advisable to pause for a while.

Mix gambling with other activities– always ensures that gambling is not your only source of entertainment. It is healthy to involve yourself in other social activities like golfing, swimming, and visiting friends and family.

Join a support team– after recognizing and admitting that you have a problem, you can seek help from a support team. These are groups that people with similar pasts and experiences support. They will give you access to professional assistance. One such group is Gamblers Anonymous which handles people with gambling problems.

Socialize in new areas- some people gamble as their only way of socializing and meeting new people. But this should not be the case. Other great ways of socializing and meeting new people include watching a football match, attending social events, and working out at a gym.

Redesigning your life is another excellent self-help strategy for dealing with gambling addiction. Participating in gambling activities could result in having friends with the same behavior. The people close to you and your lifestyle influence your life in general. Changing this and hanging out in different places will be of great assistance.

Think about the outcome– guilt and shame are some things gambling addicts go through on their road to recovery. These two are dangerous and, in some cases, cause people to relapse. Additionally, some guilt and shame can cause you to stay in recovery. Think about the results of your previous gambling to avoid repeating it in the future.

Have a budget plan– always gamble the money you can manage to lose. Do not use your money for basic needs such as food, rent, or bills to gamble.

Have a timeline– always set a timetable for gambling. You cannot mix family time with gambling. Ensure that you gamble strictly within the set time. Be disciplined at all times.

Helpful Resources

Many organizations in the United States assist with gambling addiction. They offer different types of treatment like medication, group meetings, and counseling. They include:

Responsible gambling trust is a charity and independent organization committed to reducing gambling-related harm. It depends on donations from the gambling industry. The money is used to treat services, prevention, and education about gambling-related issues.

Gamblers Anonymous is a crowd of people who previously or presently have gambling addiction-related problems. Here, they support one another through compassion, experience, and knowledge to deal with their problems better. The good news is that no membership fees are required. All you need to enroll is the willpower to stop compulsive gambling.

Gambling Therapy is a free online platform that provides advice, support, and assistance to people with gambling problems. They have a product called GamBlock, which helps people with these problems. Besides that, they deal with support and recovery groups. You can get all this information and more on their official website. 

GambleAware– it encourages and promotes responsible gambling. The organization offers support, counseling, help, and information to people suffering from gambling problems. Visit GambleAware’s site and get more details about what they offer.

Overcoming addictions and adopting responsible gambling is not a walk in the park. However, the above organizations will make your journey toward being a responsible gambler easier. Gambling should be a fun and entertaining platform that does not get in the way of your daily life. 

You will do yourself and your loved ones big favor to stop your addictions and start gambling responsibly. Remember, the journey to responsible gambling is a day at a time. All the best!

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