What is Gambling Addiction?
Gambling is a human vice – one that, like other vices, has the potential to overwhelm innate morality and truly get the better of us. While some may gamble to excess despite an ability to stop (the thought of easy money is appealing until one recognizes that the house always wins), others may have lost the ability to control their gambling somewhere along the line. Because gambling is so diverse, gambling addiction can crop up in many different forms. Some gambling addicts may buy scratch-off lotto tickets compulsively, while still others may spend hours playing poker online. The addiction may initially arise for a number of reasons. Perhaps an individual finds him or herself in a financial tight spot, or one night out at the casino with friends leads to an unforgettable adrenaline rush – which leads, in turn, to a mental obsession. Because gambling addiction is a behavioral addiction, and behavioral addictions are widely misunderstood, there are many myths surrounding the potentially devastating compulsion. Take a look at some of the most common myths below and their corresponding legitimacies, and decide for yourself whether or not you need to seek help for a compulsive gambling problem.
Compulsive Gambling Myths and Facts
Myth: Those who suffer from from gambling addiction will engage in gambling every day.
Fact: This not the case. Some compulsive gamblers may successfully limit their gambling to the weekends for a prolonged period of time. Because gambling addiction is so diverse, it is sometimes exceedingly simple to keep secret. Those who engage in compulsive online poker playing may be able to hide their involvement more easily than those who are hitting the casino multiple times a week.
Myth: If the gambler has enough money to support his or her habit, it isn’t necessarily an issue.
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Fact: This is far from true – financial consequences are only a very small portion of the comprehensive devastation caused by gambling addiction. Even those who do not put themselves into debt will be forced to deal with interpersonal, work-related, emotional, and psychological repercussions. The devastation is vast and extensive.
Myth: If someone close to you suffers from gambling addiction and accrues a massive debt, it is okay for you to help them pay that debt off – so long as they remain in recovery.
Fact: Bailing your loved one out of debt is a great way to enable them, leading to an exacerbation of addictive behaviors. It is best to set boundaries and to allow your loved one to deal the consequences of his or her own actions.
Myth: Partners of problem gamblers often lead their significant others to gamble, and should take a serious look at their own role in the situation.
Fact: Those who suffer from gambling addiction will look for something or someone to put the blame on. It is important to recognize that gambling addiction, like other behavioral addictions, stems from some deep-seated underlying issues. These issues could range from untreated psychological disorders to past emotional trauma, and are typically treated with intensive therapy in an inpatient treatment setting.
Myth: It’s usually easy to spot an addictive gambler.
Fact: This behavior is actually especially easy for people to hide. It is far easier to hide compulsive gambling issues than it is to hide a severe chemical dependency, seeing as physical symptoms are not nearly as obvious and extensive.
Gambling Addiction Treatment
Many individuals who suffer from gambling addiction concurrently struggle with a substance dependency disorder – for this reason, dual diagnosis treatment is an ideal option. We at Lighthouse Recovery Institute deal with addictions of all kinds, focusing on the unique needs of each individual client. We utilize a comprehensive and specially designed treatment program, employing proven therapeutic methods with holistic care and treating the mind, body, and soul inclusively. For more information on our specific program of recovery, please call today.