The Effects of Gambling Addiction

Gambling is an activity that was created to have fun and that is still true for the practice of gambling today. However, we all know that too much of a good thing can be bad for you. There is a lot of debate around whether or not gambling is inherently bad. This page intends to shed light on the negative effects that gambling and gambling addiction can have on a player’s life.

Furthermore, our team of experts have also included information on different gambling personalities, types of gambling addiction, how to help someone with a gambling problem and direct advice from someone who has experienced gambling addiction first-hand and has overcome the struggle. We want gambling to be seen as a recreational activity overall, but if there is a problem we want to also provide as much information as possible to help you or someone you know through a difficult time.

Are you Observing Responsible Gambling Practices?

If you suspect that you or someone you know may have a gambling addiction, then do an assessment to see if help is needed. There are questions that you can ask, and when answered honestly, can lead to great results and hopefully catch a bad habit before it grows into an addiction. Here are a few questions our gambling experts have put together to help you along:

Can you stop gambling if you happen to be on a winning streak?
Has anyone in your life ever questioned your gambling habits?
Has anyone close to you ever asked if you have a gambling problem?
Does gambling make you feel guilty or have you felt guilty about it before?
Do you find yourself selling items of value to have more money to gamble with?
Do every day thoughts often lead you back to thinking about gambling?
Do you dwell on and think about when your next bet will be placed?
Do you take bigger risks with larger sums of money to get a bigger thrill out of gambling?
How often do you lose more than you had planned to and continue playing?
Do you use gambling to distract you from other issues in your life?
How does gambling affect you emotionally?
Have you ever lost money that was needed to pay for your essentials such as rent or groceries?

While these questions can put your gambling habits into perspective and help you assess how gambling is affecting your life, it is always best to consult a professional. If you feel that you or someone in your life is suffering from gambling addiction then make sure to seek out a mental health professional for a diagnosis. By finding a professional to assist, it helps with managing gambling habits and other forms of treatment can be prescribed for the best results.

Different Types of Gambling Addiction

Not all gambling addicts will present symptoms in the same way. Some will have secretive behaviours while others will announce their next trip to the casino to everyone they know. It’s good to know how gambling addiction can present itself, whether it's you with the problem or someone you know.

Problem Gambling

This could be considered the beginning stage of full-blown gambling addiction. These people will be more secretive and tend to lie about their gambling habits to people close to them regularly. These individuals also tend to stay at casinos or keep playing at online casinos to win back what they have lost and refuse to stop or leave until they have done so. They may not be able to control these gambling impulses either.

Binge Gambling

These types of gambling addicts are harder to spot. They could go long periods without placing any bets or visiting online and land-based casinos. However, once they start, it is difficult for them to stop. Just like the long periods they stay away from gambling, it is as though all that pent up gambling energy is released all at once and can last for long periods as well.

Compulsive Gambling

Gambling without the thought of consequences. The compulsive gambler feels the need to place bets or play a casino game. There is little to no thought behind the action and is done almost involuntarily. These players won’t even think about the amount they are willing to lose, as long as they get to play, nothing else matters.

Types of Gamblers

Not every gambler is an addict, but knowing the different personalities of those who gamble can also help you in the long run. Here are some of the most common types of gamblers and what motivates them to seek out gambling activities.

The Seer/Fortune Teller

Luck is just a concept to these gamblers because they believe in their ability to predict the outcome or see patterns forming in different games. These gamblers are usually superstitious, have rituals or have lucky items they carry.

The Dreamer

Winning big and life after winning a big prize is all they think about when they are about to play. They think about what they would do with that money and sometimes how much more they can bet if they do win big. That moment before placing their bet is an important part of their gaming habit.

The Socialite

This player enjoys gambling solely for social interaction. The chance to mingle while enjoying a gambling activity with friends or family is all this player is interested in. These players will participate in community fundraising events, bingo tournaments, visiting casinos with others or like playing online via live casino games.

The Escapist

Plays gambling games as a distraction from the troubles in their lives or as a change of scenery after a difficult day. These players will be drawn to gaming machines and other games that focus on only one player at a time.

The Adrenaline Junkie

Gambling is a rush for these types of players, the feeling of excitement that comes with risk is what these players enjoy. The bigger the risk, the bigger the adrenaline rush the more these players want to be in on the action.

The Winner/Boaster

This type of player wants everyone to know that they are the best at what they do and the games they play. These players will have their focus on games such as roulette and poker that require skill and knowledge, in some cases, this also applies to sports betting. Even though the player is losing, they will continue to gamble as though they planned for the loss.

The Expert/Professional

This player puts a lot of work into gambling and finding out more about what it takes to win and if there are strategies that can be used to sway the odds in their favour. These players can be found leaning into sports betting odds and blackjack.

Helping Someone With a Gambling Problem

If you suspect that you may have a gambling addiction or if someone you know is suffering from it, then there is help out there. Make sure to find out which responsible gambling resources there are in your region of the world. Seeking professional help will allow you to treat the problem and help manage your financial situation to get you or someone you know on the road to recovery. A support system is important as it shows the individual that there are people that care for them and want to help make their lives better than it currently is.

The person struggling with irresponsible gambling habits may not believe that they have a problem. So, take your time and figure out what the best approach would be to take the first step to their recovery. There are tons of resources online and most likely in your own or someone you know in your vicinity. It does take a lot of work to build new and healthier habits, but know that your effort will not be in vain when you get back control of your life or someone you know gets control of theirs. So, never give up and do your best to make use of the gambling resources around you.

Gambling Addiction Questions Answered

Our team of gambling experts have spoken to a recovering gambling addict to answer questions about her journey to recovery. Getting help or advice from a stranger can help, but when you hear it from someone who has gone through the journey it might just be exactly what you needed to hear. Here is what the recovering gambling addict was asked:

What got you into gambling in the first place?

The player did not come from a family or an environment where gambling was commonplace. Gambling was enjoyed when the player went away with friends a few times a year or just a visit to the local casinos. It used to be a casual activity but developed into a regular occurrence that offered activity and a place to escape.

When did you first notice you had a gambling problem?

Gambling took up more time in the player’s life and even started lying to others about the time spent gambling. There were times that this recovering addict missed days at work, family functions and even medical consultations. It also ended up as an issue that would cause constant arguments between the player and their partner.

There was an attempted suicide due to not being able to sustain the gambling habit which resulted in a stay at an Addiction Crisis Centre.

What were the negative effects of gambling on your life?

Things that the player valued and that had significant value were being sold, new credit cards were issued and even loans were taken out without the player’s partner’s knowledge. The player lost all their friends and was in a severe financial hole. The agitation that comes with addiction resulted in arguments with colleagues and even job loss. The continuation of gambling resulted in another suicide attempt which was a major eye-opener.

How did you start the journey to recovery?

After the second suicide attempt, the player was admitted to the Addiction Crisis Centre once again and this time committed to the treatment offered. It was at this point that the player realised that gambling responsibly was something that they could not do. Gambling had become a huge problem and was leading to life-endangering circumstances.

The next step was admittance to the crisis centre for in-patient treatment for 30 days. This was followed up with outpatient treatment over the next six months. During that time the player attended numerous Gamblers Anonymous meetings which then became a regular occurrence for years to come. In addition, the player also received therapy to uncover any underlying triggers that could have led to the gambling addiction and ways to deal with past trauma. The positive engagement of these issues slowly led to the player being able to pay off debts. To help others, and as part of the journey to recovery, the player also wrote a memoir describing the gambling journey and how they were able to find the light once again.

What advice is there for someone who may be struggling with a gambling addiction?

Speak out about your issues and the concerns you have about yourself or the ones you care about when it comes to gambling addiction. There is a lot of help available when it comes to responsible gambling habits and resources available close to you.

Regardless of the intensity of your gambling addiction, there is always a way to turn it around. The player stated that the best first step to curb your gambling addiction is to stop gambling altogether. When you realise that you need help or if someone you love believes that you need help then take it as a first step to recovery or a way to manage your gambling habits so that you can do so responsibly.