Hey our dear online casino lover! No matter for how long you’ve been into gambling, you must have wondered where is the line crossing which you’ll get into gambling addiction risk and eventually become addicted. In fact, there’s quite a fine line between a gambler and gambling addicted person. And it’s quite an ordeal to figure it out. Good for you, NativeCasinos is not only your best online helper when it comes to choosing the best online casino in Canada or considering among the worthiest real cash games to play on your favourite Canadian gambling website, but also NativeCasinos is here to comprehensively inform you about online gambling and all the hazards you can face on the web. That’s why we happily share with you all the essential info regarding problem gambling and gambling addiction for you to be fully aware of these issues so that you can protect yourself and take all the necessary measures before it’s too late.
Problem Gambling and Gambling Addiction Defined
While for some people gambling is just a fun and recreating activity or maybe even an additional means of income, for other people it might be a life threatening disease that substantially affects the addicted gamblers as well as their loved ones.
So, how to figure it out whether you or your friends, relatives or whoever else is addicted. First of all, you need to understand that the addiction starts when a person loses control. It can develop from a harmless activity as soon as you are getting too involved in it. Basically, addiction comes when you have become obsessed. Too obsessed to give up voluntarily. As it often happens with gambling.
No denying, gambling is quite an engaging activity. It simply can’t leave you indifferent and lacking enthusiasm. Especially, if you are up to something more than simply playing casino games for free or enjoying the impressive variety of free slots. If you play casino games for real money and you can’t control it, here comes a grave problem. This hazardous issue is known as problem gambling or gambling addiction. These are basically synonyms, yet there are a few slight differences between problem gambling or gambling addiction.
Problem gambling is a strong desire or even an urge to gamble stoplessly regardless all the negative and even harmful consequences as well as your own desire to stop. Usually, gambling is classified as addictive or normal based on the harm caused by it, especially financial and psychological. In such a way, if you spend hours, days, and weeks gambling, which evidently means that you are addicted, but you feel good and your budget doesn’t suffer from your let’s call it a hobby, it can’t be defined as problem gambling.
However, if there’s any kind of harm experienced by you or your close ones because of your casino obsession, then it’s definitely a problem gambling. It can be minor or severe. Severe problem gaming is basically defined as clinical pathological gambling, which is a grave psychological disorder which is tightly associated with both family and social costs. This kind of disorder is considered comorbid with alcohol dependency because both disorders are associated with impulsive behaviour. According to the official data of 2012, around 5.77 million of Americans suffer from a gambling disorder that needs to be treated by qualified medpeople.
In the USA, there’s the Fifth Edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) published by American Psychiatric Association (APA) and lastly updated in 2013. This manual is the main taxonomic and diagnostic tool that is recognized as the principal authority for psychiatric diagnoses. According to DSM-5, gambling addiction is basically considered an addictive disorder since it’s sufferers exhibit similar symptoms to those with different kinds of substance addictions. Specifically, it’s compared to chemical drug addiction and such impulse-control disorders as pyromania or kleptomania.
To tell you more, gambling addiction is classed as an impulse-control disorder that negatively impacts your physical, psychological, and social spheres of life. Addicted gamblers can face a wide range of very unpleasant health problems, such as stress, depression, anxiety, distress, bipolar disorder, migraines, unmanaged ADHD, intestinal disorders, increased suicidal ideation, and different kinds of anxiety-related issues. Moreover, the addicted people’s psychology changes so they start experiencing despondency and helplessness. In some cases, it may even lead to suicide providing that the gambler hasn’t been appropriately helped and treated.
According to the records from the Australian hospital study, specifically data taken from Alfred Hospital’s emergency department, 17% of suicidal patients were gamblers. There was a similar study carried out in the USA by the National Council on Problem Gambling whose findings revealed that approximately 1/5 pathological gamblers are prone to suicide attempts. To tell you even more, according to the US National Council on Problem Gambling, the suicide rates among pathological gamblers are much higher compared to the sufferers by any other kind of addiction. See, that’s how grave the problem is!
Types of Gambling Addiction
It must be clarified that we all are different, which means that the same thing can affect us differently. That’s why there can be different symptoms for different gamblers and different levels of gravity of their addiction. Below are the most common types of gambling addiction as well as their intensity.
- Compulsive Gambling is basically the gravest problem an obsessed casino player can experience. It’s a disability to control your desire to play casino games for real money. Actually, addicted people of this type can’t stop playing and they will go on regardless of the consequences. No matter if they win or lose, the playing process will never stop for them. They will long for more and more gambling. Even when the time comes that they realize that they can’t afford it any longer, they still won’t stop. They will make bets and will do their best to meet all the wagering requirements even if they don’t have any personal funds left. And their parents’, children’s, spouse’s – whosoever. It simply doesn’t matter for them. This kind of addiction is the gravest. It’s also called pathological gambling and it needs to be treated by the qualified specialists as soon as detected.
- Binge Gambling is basically a periodic casino obsession. Overall, gamblers of this kind can control their gambling routine, yet they still exhibit compulsive gambling symptoms. The good point about this (if there can possibly be any good points about excessive gaming, of course) is that it’s definitely not the lost case and this person can be treated easier than in the previously described case since a periodic obsession is fortunately not all-consuming. Casino players of this kind can happily live without gaming and they can always perfectly control themselves. Well, almost. There are exceptions, of course. Gambling time. That’s the period when their self-control vanishes and the betting process becomes the most important thing in their lives. Evidently, that’s the time when the symptoms of compulsive gambling are easily noticed. Good thing is that the person gets back to normal as soon as he or she stops playing. However, the problem is that it’s quite challenging for such people to stop placing bets and regain control over themselves and their behaviour. That’s why they need support from their family or friends. These need to be people who can stop their loved ones from plunging into the betting process over and over again.
- Problem Gambling is the slightest level of the addiction. Basically, it may be the beginning of the obsession and can be transformed into addiction. However, it can also be completely eradicated as soon as you notice this kind of a problem. So, how to figure it out that you face problem gambling? Actually, there’s no point of compulsion that you are addicted to, yet sometimes you find it quite difficult to control your habits, specifically your casino entertainment. The players of this type are occasionally disturbed from their normal life because of their casino obsession. They will go on playing in order to compensate for their losses, yet fail. They will lie to their loved ones about their betting habits. They will even be able to admit it that they find it more and more difficult to refuse gambling more and more often. It’s quite alarming, no denying. The good point is that this type of casino players in most cases notice this kind of problem and do admit that it needs to be addressed. And that’s the high time to do that. Because if you wait till it becomes compulsive, it won’t be resolved that easily. Don’t wait. Act immediately!
Causes of Addiction
It’s quite difficult to say why people are getting addicted to anything. Especially casino games. There’s no single reason for that. Quite often, there are different factors that affect it. Among the most common there can be the following causes: your role model who is quite successful so you decided to follow this example; you might be of quite a fragile age that affects your world perception and therefore your perception of gambling is quite perverse, which makes your expectations to do nothing with the reality; your first wins were quite easy and too big, so you’re confident in your subsequent wins. Basically, there can be a lot of reasons. Many more than already listed. Below you can familiarize yourself with the main factors that can affect your casino obsession on different levels and to different extents.
It’s all in our biology. Seriously. All kinds of addiction lie in our nature. Some people are more prone to them and some are less. Based on the results of brain imaging, there’s a certain neurological response produced in brain after a casino win that is absolutely identical to the neurological response your brain would produce after it receives a dose of the drug in case you are addicted to cocaine or any other drugs or alcohol. Evidently, that’s why you are becoming more and more obsessed with gambling or whatever else that makes your brain produce the same neurological response that will make you happy. In addition, you need to know that compulsive behavior can also be caused by deficiencies in serotonin, which is a chemical that is tightly linked to your wellbeing and happiness, and norepinephrine, a chemical that is linked to dangerous situations and stress. So, based on all the conducted genetic studies, it’s fair to claim that there are people who are more genetically predisposed to different kinds of addictions as well as developing impulses and compulsive behavior.
Yes. Your psychology matters a lot. And the way you think about gaming and casinos in general has a strong correlation to whether or not you are prone to developing such a problem. There’s the so-called Gambler’s fallacy that is believed to provide a seemingly logical rationalization for compulsive behavior.
The Gambler’s fallacy claims that a series of current independent events have the power to affect the odds of future independent events and basically they will. For instance, according to the probability theory, when you flip a coin, the odds are always the same – 50%. No matter how many times you flip the coin and no matter how many times it lands on heads or tails, it doesn’t affect the result of subsequent flipping. However, the Gambler’s fallacy states that there’s a higher probability for the coin to land on tails in order to make up for the previous results.
In fact, it’s even called a fallacy, so that’s absolutely not how it actually works in real life. Nevertheless, that’s the fallacy many gamblers believe in. So, it serves for them as an additional motivation to chase losses as they strongly believe that luck is sure to be on their side quite soon. It’s absolutely a nonsense. Really. If you have already lost all your planned budget, get out of this shit at once. Don’t use credit cards. Don’t reload your prepaid cards. Do nothing to waste even more money. Don’t let your naivety to fool you and rob you. It’s stupid. Don’t give in to that.
Another example related to psychology is as follows. Problem behaviour is more likely to be elicited in fast-paced games. In such a way, people are really interested in slots because they are fast to play and easily available. So they are more attractive than let’s say a lottery that is held only once a year. Thus, people playing slots are more prone to addiction. And they are more prone to losses. Do avoid them. You can do that easily.
Evidently, your surroundings matter a lot. As well as all the circumstances you have to face in your life. In such a way, there can be many social sources and reason that provoke compulsive behaviour as well as gambling addiction in general. All kinds of problematic issues you have to cope with in your personal or professional life considerably affect your behaviour. Thus, such problems may well trigger your gambling obsession as a source of relief from all the challenges you have to struggle with in your daily routine.
If you feel deprived from the normal social life, let’s say, you don’t have friends or a loved one, you are very likely to experience bitter loneliness, lasting depression, annoying distress etc. Under such circumstances, you might view visiting casino as a good idea to improve your social life. It might also seem a good way for you to become more successful in terms of interpersonal communication as well as financial welfare. However, you need to realize that it wouldn’t be this way in fact. And gambling is definitely not the best solution in this case.
Another social factor is the sociological environment you are into. For instance, if there’s someone of your acquaintances who is in for casinos, this person can implicitly or explicitly motivate you to share this experience together. Especially, it works if this person is very successful or at least pretends he or she is. We absolutely discourage from following such an example. Besides, even if frequent casino leisure works cool for others, there’s absolutely no guarantee that it would work fine for you. That’s why you shouldn’t let such risky endeavours ruin your life. Don’t destroy your family in such a stupid way. Gamble responsibly. Gamble for fun. Don’t overdo. And always remember about the consequences. Don’t let your sociological environment put you in such a risk.
Well, we have partially covered this kind of cause already. Usually, different kinds of addictions come together. Basically, it means that if a person is addicted to something, it doesn’t take much effort to make this person addicted to something else. Because this person is prone to being addicted. See how it works? That’s why if you are a really heavy drinker and can’t imagine your life being sober, you’re already into trouble. However, it also means that it won’t take much to become addicted to casinos as well.
You might be also into drugs, which also means that not only do you suffer a lot from this kind of problem, but also you are at a very high risk of becoming vulnerable to gaming obsession. Talking about online casinos particularly, if you are deep into cyber gaming and it’s become your obsession, it’s not to far for you to become addicted to online casinos as well. Mind that. You might be even more motivated to avoid this kind of addiction if you find out that addicted gamblers often struggle with psychological disorders, such as antisocial personality disorder as well as schizophrenia. These might be the causes for gaming addiction as well as results of it. Well, yeah. It works both ways no matter how weird it seems to be.
So, how to understand that you are becoming or have already become addicted? For the addicted, gambling is similar to drugs or alcohol. It means that you can’t help gambling as well as alcoholic can’t help drinking or a drug addict can’t help smoking weed or taking heavy drugs. That’s a real problem, dude. Agree?
Another sign of addiction is that your gaming activities substantially change your mood and in some cases even your state of mind. In such a way, it becomes a vicious circle. You can’t be in a good mood without playing casino games. When you aren’t engaged with casino games, you become irritated or even impulsive and aggressive just like a drug addict who is thirsty for the next dose. And it’s really impossible to control yourself in such a mental state. Evidently, the only way for you to stay adequate and try to behave normally is to get back to your all-consuming gambling routine. The one that grants you euphoric feelings and morbid inner harmony. Which feels quite freaky indeed.
Similarly to alcohol addiction, an addict gambler develops a tolerance, which means that he or she is thirsty for casino gaming since that’s the only way for them to stay high. So, you start chasing your luck. Or misfortune. Which is much more likely to experience once you’re obsessed.
Basically, as soon as you start engaging in gaming more and more in order to win back all your losses, it’s not even a sign of addiction. It’s the alarm. And it already may be too late. Since it’s nothing but the vicious circle. That is highly challenging to fight through. And the most complicated thing is that the gambler doesn’t want to be released. There’s no resistance ability any more. In this case, the person can’t be treated without the help of the closed one or even the qualified specialists.
Evidently, gaming can be defined as an addiction if it greatly interferes with other spheres of your life, such as your family, social life, education, work etc. First of all, you simply don’t have time for anything but gaming. Secondly, you can’t live without gambling, so you stop really caring about anything else in your life.
Actually, it’s rather difficult to say what gambling frequency can be considered an addiction, especially taking into account the fact that there are such addicted people who are engaged in periodic gambling binges instead of spending all their free time playing casino games. Nevertheless, periodic gambling binges have the same emotional and financial consequences as for frequent gambling. That’s why even periodic gambling binges that repeat from time to time can’t be neglected.
All the signs that you can find in this section are quite easy to detect and the problem can be eradicated as soon as it’s noticed. However, as this kind of addiction is getting graver and graver, you won’t be able to stop it yourself. For this reason, it’s highly essential to make sure that your close ones are aware of your gambling affection and it would be really nice if they read this article in order to be able to immediately help you if there’s such a need.
You already know quite enough about this problem and the ways to detect it. However, there are a few more signs that are most alarming. In case you notice one of them, you must act immediately. We’ll tell you below in the article what to do if you notice these signs, while now we encourage you to carefully look through the list below in order to have a good command of them all and know the time when you need to take action right away.
- The sum of money you deposit in the casino increases gradually. You aren’t satisfied with the former smaller deposits. You need more and more money every time you gamble. You feel no excitement if you play for free or make small bets.
- Every time you stop gambling, you feel very irritated. You can play casino games restlessly. You find it very difficult, almost impossible, to cut down. When someone tells you it’s time to stop, you get impulsive. If there’s no connection or there’s something with your device and you are forced out of the online casino, you find it really hard to control your aggression and frustration.
- You have already tried to cut back on, control, or stop gambling, yet in vain. Your loved ones try to control you, yet you won’t listen. This kind of casino entertainment is becoming more and more essential to you. Nothing else brings happiness to your life any longer. You won’t stop betting until you spend your last dollar. Sometimes, you wouldn’t stop even when you spend the last borrowed dollar, which certainly adds to the gravity of this problem. Especially, if you’re sure you’ll be able to win all the losses back. Which will never happen. And you know that. Just don’t realize. Unfortunately.
- You can’t help thinking about gaming. You keep recollecting your past casino experiences. And you miss them terribly. No matter how good or bad they were. You want to experience those cool feelings, that gaming excitement. You spend much time thinking about your next casino adventures. You might be even considering choosing another gaming venture hoping that it will be luckier. You are trying to figure out a way to get additional income to spend on gambling. Basically, you are all into gaming. And there’s no space for anything else in your mind. And in your life. Period.
- Any time you feel depressed or just want to have some fun, gaming is your only joy. It’s the best cure to elevate your mood. And your only relief. And it works for you. At least, you are absolutely sure of that.
- No matter how many times you have lost, you inevitably return to the casino where you played in order to chase your losses. In most cases, in vain. Yet you never stop. You are quite stubborn and extremely persistent when it comes to gaming.
- You start concealing your gaming obsession from others, especially your loved ones, because you do realize that they won’t approve it. You do realize that it’s not good, yet you won’t even think of stopping playing in casinos. So, you don’t tell them where you play, how often you do that, and how much you spend on that. Besides, you are looking for a chance to win big and surprise them all. We are sorry to disappoint you but it will never happen anyways. Yet you might not agree with this opinion, of course.
- Since nothing else matters to you but your casino obsession, you start losing everything that used to be dear to you. Be it a relationship, dropping out the uni, career failures. This list can be as long as you can only think of. That’s the extent of the problem. And it’s really high time to decide whether gaming really worth all the sacrifices you make. To put it differently, it’s high time for you to see the consequences of your casino obsession on your life. And it’s time for you to decide if you will let it be this way. Or if you have enough strength to stop it. Or at least to admit this problem and ask for help.
- Your family is worried. Like extremely. If you neglect their requests and demands to stop gambling, it’s a grave problem already. Forget about denial. Don’t ignore them. If they have noticed that you have troubles with your involvement in casino betting, they are definitely right. You can’t conceal it any longer. And you really need their help. Listen to them carefully. And do whatever they ask you. It won’t be weak of you. Instead, it would be very wise, reasonable, and even strong of you to ask for help and let them help you.
- You start borrowing money to spend on gambling. You put up with all the financial problems you are forced to face now because of your harmful and obsessive habits. You are ready to eat less and dress worse, but you need money to make casino deposits. You have overused all your credit limits, yet you can’t stop even at this point. You can even start selling things to get some extra money to spend on betting. That’s already the crossed line. Seriously. It’s really difficult to find a way out when it’s that late. So, it’s better to be wise and reasonable. And never overdo with casino activities. Never again.
Whichever of the listed signs is quite alarming and the measures must be taken at once as soon as you notice anything of this kind in your own thinking or behaviour. Unfortunately, humans are quite imperfect. And sometimes it’s really difficult to help yourself even if you do admit that there’s a real trouble that you are in. That’s why it’s highly important that you inform your family or friends about your casino activities and ask them to read this article so that they can help you when you can’t help yourself. Don’t neglect our advice and gamble responsibly. Mind that gambling is meant for fun. Nothing else but fun. Keep that in mind.
Recognition of the Problem
Probably, the most challenging is to recognize that you have a problem. Specifically, this kind of problem. Sometimes, it’s your family or friends who can recognize this problem and help you when you can’t do that yourself. So, basically, all you need to do in this case is to seek help. Fortunately, there are many professional organizations that can help you. We’ll tell about them later in this article.
So, if you or your close ones have noticed whichever of the alarming signs you have looked through in the section above, you must admit that you are addicted. Even if you don’t think there’s a problem, but your family or friends have noticed it, don’t neglect them. It’s almost as certain as the sun will rise that you really have a problem. And it needs to be addressed immediately. Don’t mask it. Don’t diminish its gravity. Don’t refuse there is a problem. Seriously. The earlier you admit it, the easier you’ll get rid of it. That’s the way it works. So, don’t lose the chance to improve the situation before it’s too late. Or before much more efforts and resources must be invested in solving the problem. Just take the chance when it’s not that grave. It’s better to prevent yourself from that than trying to recover from it. Which is really hard.
Essential Self Help Measures
- First of all, do admit that you have this problem. It takes a lot of strength and courage. Especially, if you already feel you’re totally broken. Don’t give up. Don’t let yourself into despair. Don’t think you’re alone with this problem. Not at all. Many people have gone through that already. So, it’s possible. And you can be professionally helped whenever you ask for help. Just don’t let it unsettle you. It’s absolutely sure that you’ll recover from that.
- Clarify your own reasons for gambling and find alternative ways instead of casino activities. For instance, if you opt for casino in order to feel excitement or get a rush of adrenaline, go in for sport or challenging hobbies, such as rock climbing, mountain biking, or Kart racing. If you are after socialization and are trying to overcome shyness or isolation, visit a counselor, take up public speaking courses, spend more time with your family and friends, find new ones. If you want to forget your problems in such a way, you’d better confide to your close people or visit a therapist. If you are suffering from loneliness or boredom, find a new passion, such as reading interesting books, playing musical instruments, go in for sport, take up art classes etc. Searching for relaxation? Try daily exercising, meditation, deep breathing, massage or anything of this kind. You’ll see it’s much more relieving than casino activities. Finally, if you are after money, you must realize that the odds are always against you and there’s absolutely no way to win anything. So, you’d better look for more reliable sources of additional income rather than gaming.
- Since you already know all the typical causes for falling from casino dependency, it’s absolutely in your power to avoid them or at least try to minimize their pernicious effect. And it’s definitely up to you to choose healthier ways to cope with any kind of your negative emotions, stress, depression, lack of socialization, boredom etc. rather than gaming. Do your best to spend more time with your family and your friends who aren’t into casinos. You can even take up new hobbies or practice some interesting relaxation techniques. These are really good alternatives if you are determined to cope with all the problems that caused you to search for relief in a casino. Basically, all you need is to find some really interesting activities for you and go in for them with your head in order to forget your pernicious habits and dependency. It’s also important not to stay isolated. Socialize a lot. As much as possible. And you’ll see it yourself how great your feelings will be.
- Do your best to strengthen your support network. Support is really important for everyone, especially for addicted people. You know it yourself how difficult it is to solve different kinds of problems and try to improve problematic situations. It’s even more challenging to fight gambling addiction. That’s why it’s highly essential for you to strengthen your support network. To make sure there are people in your circle who can always support you and are always eager to offer you their shoulder to cry on. The ones who won’t criticize you and whom you can fully confide. Do your best to improve relationships with your family and friends. Make sure you socialize with your colleagues. Take some courses, join a fitness centre or gym, visit different clubs or any other kind of places where you can make new friends. Actually, there are many ways to make new acquaintances and improve relations with the existing ones. Just do care about it. Remember it’s highly important to have the ones who will support you.
- It’s also highly important to join a peer support group. You might think it’s too awkward. Or even stupid. But that’s definitely not so. It’s very helpful in fact. So, we highly recommend you to join peer support groups such as Gamblers Anonymous or anything of that kind. In such a way, first of all, you’ll get a chance to exchange your experience together with people who have the same problem as you do and try to get out of that together. Secondly, there’s a chance to find a sponsor who used to be a gambler, yet he or she is done with it already. So, this person can easily help you to fight it too by providing you some truly invaluable guidance and support.
- Of course, it’s very important to completely give up your gambling routine. If you can’t do it right now, we recommend that you make longer intervals that are free from attending online casinos. If you used to play daily, try to make a break for a few days. Every break needs to be longer than the previous. However, it’s evidently better to give up at once not to leave any chances for this habit to come back in your life.
- Try to analyze your feelings during the gambling and after your losses. What kind of feelings you experience? Are you satisfied with experiencing such feelings? Try to analyze and compare your emotions pretending that you gambled and lost or didn’t gamble at all. What kind of emotions you like more? What kind of financial situation you are more happy with? The answers are evident, just make sure you are ready to admit the way things are.
- It’s also essential for you to visit a psychologist or even a psychiatrist in order to address your psychological problems (if you have any, of course), such as anxiety, stress, depression, substance abuse, etc. As we have already mentioned, comorbidity matters a lot, so it’s definitely reasonable to fight the causes first so that the problem gets less grave. Even if you think you have got rid of gambling for good, it’s still worth coping with other problems as well in order to prevent any kind of addictions in future and protect yourself from psychological disorders.
Helping Your Loved Ones to Get Rid of their Addiction
Evidently, the best way to recover for the gambler is to make sure that he or she can help yourself. However, unfortunately, some people find it really difficult to help themselves without support or help of their loved ones. That’s why this section serves to inform you how to behave if your loved person is with the head into gambling and needs help even if refuses to admit it.
First of all, we understand what kind of conflicting emotions you can experience. You must have tried to persuade your loved ones to give up tons of times so far, yet in vain. You must be really angry and even furious with this destructive habit. You must be absolutely fed up with all the financial problems you have to face now because of that cursed gambling. And you might be in the deepest despair a human being is only capable to experience.
Nevertheless, it’s highly important for you to realize that you are the one who can help. Seriously. It’s only you who your beloved gambler can rely on. And it’s only you who can help to get rid of it. But you need to realize that this person needs to be perfectly convinced that casinos are too destructive and that he or she needs to decide that it’s time to stop. Unfortunately, it’s only a gambler’s decision to stop. You can’t force them. Yet you can encourage, support them in their efforts, have long conversations etc. Overall, you need to do whatever you can to make sure you are helpful and supportive.
So, here are a few important tips for you to help your loved casino addicted person:
- To make sure you can help your loved one, do help yourself first by protecting yourself emotionally and financially. Never blame yourself. Don’t let your loved one’s addiction to dominate your life. Don’t ignore your own needs and don’t let their addiction to ruin yourself.
- It’s not the best idea to cope with this problem alone. You need help too. Don’t feel ashamed because of this. Do look for support. Meet people with a similar problem, share your experience, seek for the best way out together. Consult professional specialists, they definitely know it better how to deal with this problem. We also recommend you to join peer support groups such as Gamblers Anonymous or anything of this kind. It would be really great if you can convince your gambler to come there with you. It might help a lot.
- Evidently, you shouldn’t conceal this problem from others since you never know from whom the help might come. Besides, the more people know about that, the higher your chances to reach the gambler with your arguments.
- Manage your budget and set boundaries. Review all your bank and credit card statements to make sure there are no unpleasant surprises. The gambler shouldn’t be relied on to manage your family budget. Do it yourself. Make sure your finances are safe and you won’t end up homeless in case the gambling addiction progresses to the point of being uncontrollable.
- Find the way to handle money requests from your gambler. These requests can be either direct or indirect. They can be delivered in different forms, such as manipulations, pleading, threats etc. you can’t give in. under no circumstances. Don’t believe that it’s the last time or anything of that kind. That’s a lie and you know it perfectly. Don’t encourage or approve the addiction by sponsoring it. That’s definitely not the way to address this issue.
- Of course, you need to understand that the worst way to solve the problem is to express your anger or preach or lecture your loved person. It will be in vain. The only result you’ll achieve is worsening of your relationship. Mind that manipulations, threats, and ultimatums are very unlikely to work in this case too. Instead, you need to talk with your loved addicted gambler in a calm way. You shouldn’t make any kind of scenes or reproach this person. Instead, you need to explain how his or her gambling addiction affects you and your life. And how great it would be if this problem is solved one day.
- Evidently, you should realize that the recovery process takes time. It won’t happen overnight since it is definitely not the way it works. The whole recovery process can take from a few weeks to a year or so, depending on how grave the problem is.
Myths and Facts
|Gaming is a problem only if a gambler can’t afford losses.||Evidently, financial difficulties is what compulsive gamblers often face, yet the addiction is a mental problem that can also be experienced by well off people. Besides, gambling affects not only the gambler’s finances, but also career and personal relationships. So, it’s evidently a grave problem that can’t be ignored under any circumstances.|
|Occasional gambling is not a problem.||While it might seem not as grave as daily gaming, it’s still might be a sign of an addiction since occasional gaming might be the beginning of it. Besides, the more you play in a casino, the more dependent on this leisure you are becoming. In addition, occasional gaming may well turn into compulsive. So, be aware and don’t let yourself or your loved ones getting too enthralled with gambling. It’s quite dangerous indeed.|
|There’s absolutely no way for a responsible person to become addicted.||What nonsense! Addiction is the problem that can develop in any one. No matter how responsible and self disciplined you are. Besides, you must be aware that gaming addiction is a mental disorder, which means that you can’t control yourself any longer. That’s why you shouldn’t accept such an illogical argument since it makes absolutely no sense.|
|Gambling addiction can affect only adults, while children and teenagers aren’t prone to it.||Here is another misunderstanding of the problem. Nowadays, there are more and more children and young people who are getting interested in gambling and spending most of their free time in online casinos. That has become extremely popular with the emergence of mobile casinos. Especially, it might result in a grave problem if their family members or friends are casino enthusiasts too. Here are the sources that deal with children and teens gambling addiction for you to be comprehensively informed of the problem and its gravity: Teen Addiction To Online Gambling, Number of child gamblers quadruples in just two years, How Dangerous Is My Son’s Gambling Addiction?, Teens and Problem Gambling, Gaming Impact on Children, Gambling and teenagers, NHS to launch young people’s gambling addiction service, Too many children are hooked on gambling. Why aren’t they protected?|
|The best way to help an addicted is to give them money on gambling.||Not at all! Never ever should you sponsor gambling, especially of your loved ones. Sponsoring and encouraging gambling is what you do by giving money to people with a mental disorder so that they can spend it on gambling. You are making the situation even worse in such a way! Instead, you should do your best to make sure your loved ones are properly treated so that they will eventually fight this terrible mental problem. There’s a section below in this article where you can find all the helpful resources (specifically, treatment centers, organizations, hospitals, etc.) that you might find useful while helping your loved ones to overcome this problem together. Spend the money on treatment rather than on promoting gambling and making the overall situation even worse.|
Evidently, there are many ways to address casino addiction. Normally, they include counseling, peer-support, self-help, step-based programs, medication, or even a combination of all these measures. Below, we’ll briefly inform you about the most widespread ways of treatment so that you have an idea what to do when the help is needed immediately.
Therapy and Counselling
Basically, psychotherapy is the most effective way to treat the addiction. There are trained professionals who know how to address this problem in the most efficient way. In addition, taking into account comorbidity, a gambler is very likely to also have other psychiatric problems apart from gambling addiction. That’s why truly the best way to treat all kinds of evident and latent disorders is to visit a psychiatrist. We highly recommend you opt for this method as the most effective one.
One of the most effective therapies used in counselling is cognitive behavioral therapy. It has proven itself effective with reducing gambling-related urges as well as addiction symptoms in general. This therapy is basically focused on identifying gambling-related thought processes as well as mood and cognitive distortions that basically increase your vulnerability and predisposition to out-of-control gambling. In addition, cognitive behavioral therapy prevents relapse, encourages assertiveness, and even provokes gambling refusal. Besides, it teaches you to look for better ways to reinforce your gambling-inconsistent activities and interests. Thus, cognitive behavioral therapy is extremely effective and is highly recommended to opt for.
Even though there are still no medications that would have been specially designed for treating specifically gambling addiction, there are still some good medicine that can help you. As far as you already know, gambling addiction has similar symptoms as other kinds of addictions. That’s why it’s really worth taking such medications as anti-seizure medications, antidepressants, medications that treat other addictions and others. They serve to reduce your urge to wager as well as your excitement from betting. In such a way, medications can turn out to be extremely helpful indeed since the cope with the symptoms of the addiction and help to overcome it. However, for the best result, it’s better to combine medical treatment along with therapy or counselling. In such a way, you’ll be able to completely eradicate the addiction by treating it physically as well as psychologically.
Support and Self-Help
It’s highly important for you to understand the problem and find a way to solve it yourself. Sometimes, your only desire is more than enough. However, sometimes, you might find it difficult to help yourself, so it’s very important for you not to conceal your problem and do ask for help from your loved ones. They will surely support you. Just tell them you need it.
This kind of treatment has been specially created based on similar Alcoholics Anonymous model. Gamblers Anonymous is basically a 12-step model with an emphasis on a mutual-support approach. The only requirement for you to join the program is your own desire to give up gambling. The effectiveness of this program evidently depends on the gravity of your problem, yet it’s quite helpful indeed.
Destructiveness of Gambling Addiction
You might ask quite a logical question: why recover from gambling addiction? What’s so bad about it? Well, there are many bad effects of gaming on your life. Check out just a few most essential of them in order to realize that it’s a really burning problem that must be solved as soon as possible!
- The most noticeable sign of gaming destructiveness is definitely your finances. You keep on increasing your bets and the frequency of placing them. You run out of available credit cards. There’s nothing left from your savings. Moreover, you might have huge debts. You might even end up bankrupt. Moreover, sometimes financial difficulties may even result in legal problems. Are you sure that’s the life you want? Highly unlikely, huh? You know perfectly well how to avoid it. Treat your addiction and get back to your normal life and to your loved ones. If there are no such people in your life, it’s high time to find them. See, it’s as simple as that.
- If you still remain unconvinced, think about your mental health. You must have noticed how difficult it has become for you to manage your emotions and control your mood. Anxiety, stress, depression, substance abuse… Is that the way you want to live? Sometimes, this addiction can even lead you to a suicide. No kidding. Isn’t that the reason to be done with it, huh? Save your mental health and save your life.
- Another way gambling ruins your life is the repercussions imposed on people who are close to you. Statistical data show that families of gambling addicted people often suffer from domestic violence and child abuse. Children in such families experience substance abuse, depression, and behavioral problems. Let alone the mere thought that your relationship can be simply killed by you and your gambling affection. Are you sure it’s worth it? Highly unlikely.
Helpful Resources for Canadian Gamblers
We strongly recommend you to check the following resources should you be looking for help and treatment.
- The Addictive Behaviours Laboratory (ABL) is Canadian laboratory headed by Dr. David C. Hodgins, who has Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. The laboratory is focused on treating sufferers from gambling addiction and substance abuse. The main idea of treatment lies in examining and addressing all kinds of problems that lie in various aspects of the physiology and psychology of gambling behavior. The ABL also conducts the research dealing with the clinical condition of pathological gambling as well as potential treatment approaches.
- Le Centre québécois d’excellence pour la prévention et le traitement du jeu (CQEPTJ) de l’Université Laval or Quebec Center of Excellence for the Prevention and Treatment of Gambling (CQEPTJ) at Laval University. It’s basically a French speaking center located in Quebec that has been involved in fundamental clinical research for over 15 years so far. The center is preoccupied with examination of psychological mechanisms responsible for the development and maintenance of gambling problems, raising awareness, improving treatment, understanding the social and cultural conditions of play and contributing to the prevention of gambling addiction. The center is a pioneer in the field of scientific advances and public communications on games of chance. CQEPTJ is focused on the research dealing with excessive gambling opportunities, the risks associated with new gambling offerings, the effectiveness of innovative treatments and the social costs of excessive gaming.
- The Alberta Gambling Research Institute is a consortium of the following Canadian universities: the University of Calgary, the University of Alberta, and the University of Lethbridge. The primary purpose of the Alberta Gambling Research Institute is to support, conduct, and promote research dealing with gambling specifically in the Province of Alberta.
- Gambling Research Exchange Ontario (GREO) is located on 55 Wyndham St. N., Suite 214A, Guelph ON N1H 7T8, (Phone number: 519-763-8049). GREO offers a wide range of services and programs aimed at translating and disseminating high-quality information and evidence to apply it for reduction harm in gambling. The programs and services include the following: Adjunct Scientist / Experts, Knowledge Translation and Exchange Fellowships, Incubator Projects, GREO Knowledge HUBs, BET Funding Programs, State of Evidence Reviews, Gambling from a Public Health Perspective. These programs and services serve to leverage and extend researchers’ expertise, build capacity amongst community organizations and students, and evidently encourage innovation in the field of gambling addiction and ways to reduce and prevent it.
- Gambling, Gaming and Technology Use Knowledge Exchange serves to support mental health and addiction service providers by training and educating specialists in this field, developing helpful digital resources and tools, and facilitating knowledge sharing as it’s stated in the program name.
- The National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) serves to provide all the essential info about gambling addiction, how to treat it and what are the best counselors to search for help from.
- British Columbia Responsible & Problem Gambling Program is a Canadian organization that serves to prevent and reduce harmful impacts of gambling addiction that is manifested through uncontrolled or excessive gambling. Responsible gambling is being promoted through policy development and education. The following province institutions are involved in the British Columbia Responsible & Problem Gambling Program: the BC Responsible & Problem Gambling Program, the Gaming Policy & Enforcement Branch, the BC Lottery Corporation. The organization views as its primarily focus on informing people about how gambling works so that you can objectively decide if that’s a good decision for you. Besides, the program provides a helpful toolkit of strategies for you to make sure that you control your gambling routine, specifically, the time and money you spent as well as your mood.
- Problem Gambling Research Group of the University of Windsor. The Group was launched in 1993 with the goal to raise awareness of problem gambling and gambling addiction in the community. The Group consists of graduate students, academic researchers, service providers, and community based researchers. Together they form a truly unique research program that is highly competent in this field.
- Responsible Gambling Council (RGC). Basically, it’s a non-profit independent organization whose main goal is to prevent problem gambling by bringing together people with firsthand experience of gambling addiction, policy makers, regulators, gaming providers, and treatment professionals. Most of the RGC activities are focused on reducing gambling risks by raising awareness of problem gambling and gambling addiction among specific age groups and communities, namely, adults, youth and young adults, parents, older adults, new Canadians, and the aboriginal community. The essential RGC programs include the following: Innovative Awareness and Information, Social Marketing Campaign: Isolation, Problem Gambling Prevention Week: Know the Signs, Know the Score 2, PlaySmart Centre (formerly RGRC), BetCheck, Interactive Kiosks (formerly MARGI), Cost2Play Calculator, Youth PG Prevention Tour: Game Brain.
- The International Centre for Youth Gambling Problems and High-Risk Behaviours at McGill University. The center has operated for 20 years. It’s focused on the research aimed at figuring out critical factors that are related to youth gambling issues. What’s highly important about this centre is that it cooperates with government agencies worldwide in order to develop together responsible gambling initiatives.
- ConnexOntario (Phone Number: 1-866-531-2600) is specialized in free and confidential health services information aimed at treating Addiction, Mental Health, and Problem Gambling.
- Self-Help Gambling Tools, such as Introductory Video about the program itself, Gambling Quiz to understand if gambling interferes in your life, Monitor Your Gambling & Urges to keep track of your gambling activities, Mobile App, Community Forum, Self-Help for Those who Gamble.
- Center for Addiction and Mental Health. This service is available everywhere in Ontario 24/7. Call 1-888-230-3505. Ask for help in over 140 languages. The Ontario Problem Gambling Helpline provides information on counseling services and directs callers to such telephone counseling services and organizations such as Gamblers Anonymous and Gam-Anon.
- Provincial System Support Program (PSSP) is a Canadian knowledge exchange program that deals with Gambling, Gaming and Technology Use. The program is aimed at training and educating about the problem, developing digital tools and resources, and facilitating knowledge sharing.
Ask for Help Worldwide
- Gamblers’ Anonymous was founded in 1957 based on similar Alcoholics Anonymous model. Gamblers Anonymous. Basically, it’s a 12-step model with an emphasis on a mutual-support approach. The only requirement for you to join the program is your own desire to give up gambling. The effectiveness of this program evidently depends on the gravity of your problem, yet it’s quite helpful indeed. There are also groups that can help children of problem gamblers (Gam-A-Teen) and their loved ones (Gam-Anon).
- GamCare is an online gambling industry-funded charity organization that offers counseling and guidance for people with gambling problems in the UK.
- GamTalk is a supportive community that serves to help people with gambling issues by sharing their experiences and ideas.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is a public health agency that operates within the US Department of Health & Human Services. All year round they provide free, confidential, and 24/7 National Helpline for people with different kinds of mental disorders, including gambling. The organization provides info and service in both English and Spanish languages.
- Gambling Lab of the University of Memphis is the product of 15-year-old academic collaboration of Drs. Andrew Meyers and James Whelan. As a result of their cooperation, there have been established two essential divisions of the gambling lab – the Gambling Clinic (where the sufferers from gambling addiction are treated, professionals, doctoral students, and consumers are educated, and tools to measure and intervene with excessive and compulsive gambling behavior are developed) and the Gambling Lab itself (which is basically a research laboratory where practical Gambling Clinic experiences are transformed into empirical questions that serve to identify risk factors and protective factors to prevent gambling disorders). Their project deal with adolescent gambling, warning labels, and college student gambling. The current work is specifically focused on the exploration of the role of impulsivity dimensions in risky gambling behavior.
- Oregon Problem Gambling Resource whose slogan is “No judgement, just hope” is available on the helpline on the phone (1 877 695 4648), SMS (503 713 6000), in the live chat, or in a treatment center. If you go for help to the Oregon Problem Gambling Resource, you’ll be listened and educated by a certified gambling addiction counselor who will provide you free and confidential treatment services. There are as many as 46 certified gambling addiction counselors across the state of Oregon who deliver free, confidential, state-funded gambling treatment to the state’s residents as well as their families or friends.
- Juego Responsable is a Spanish speaking resource that serves to comprehensively inform you about the gambling problem. You can ask for help calling the following phone number: 0800-333-0333. In addition, you can contact this organization in WhatsApp 011-1524416058 for the help absolutely free of charge.
- Glücksspiel is a German speaking resource where you can find all the essential gambling related info as well as ask for help to get rid of addiction calling 021 321 29 11.
- Jogo Responsável is a Portuguese resource dealing with such issues as responsible gambling, problematic gambling, and compulsive gambling. There, you can find some truly helpful resources that will perfectly assist you if you want to prevent yourself from this problem or even recover from it.
- Hjelpelinjen is a Norwegian helpline that serves to provide you treatment assistance and advice in case you are dependent on casinos or your relatives are addicts. On this website, you can find all the gambling related info as well as well as read some guides to learn how to protect yourself in case you are in the risk group.
- AGOG is an abbreviation that stands for Dutch “Anonieme Gokkers Omgeving Gokkers” or “Area Gamblers Gamblers Anonymous” in English. The slogan on the website says: “help! ik ben gokverslaafd. Stichting AGOG helpt je samen te stoppen met gokken”. In English, it means “Help! I’m a gambling addict. AGOG Foundation helps you to stop gambling together”. In such a way, the organization’s purpose is to prevent you from falling from the gambling addiction as well as treat you if you have become addicted.
- National Center for Responsible Gaming serves to fund research programs aimed at increasing the understanding of gambling disorder and youth gambling as well as finding effective treatment methods.
- Istituto Superiore di Sanità is an Italian organization where you can get in touch with the industry professionals and ask for their help as you call 800 55 88 22 and tell about your gambling addiction or about your loved ones who suffer from this problem. This organization is also known as TVNGA. It basically addresses citizens by providing information on all the territorial resources that may be present and dedicated, such as health services dedicated to the treatment of gambling, services able to manage socio-economic and / or legal issues related to the gambling sector. indebtedness, as well as the Regional Green Numbers dedicated to the topic. The organization is also open to social and health workers with the aim of facilitating the development of a network among the services that deal with the treatment of gambling disturbance and to favor their visibility thanks also to the use of the platform developed by ISS and dedicated to them which allows the census and continuous updating of information relating to the activities performed and the services provided. Finally, the TVNGA is also available to gaming operators who will find adequate support to deal with situations of particular socio-health problems.
- Institut fédératif des addictions comportementales (Federative Institute of Behavioral Addictions) is a helpful resource for French speaking gamblers and their close ones. The creation of the Federative Institute of Behavioral Addictions aims to develop research into these new problematic behaviors in order to better understand the mechanisms involved in addictive behavior and to guide prevention and care programs.
- Federación Española de Jugadores de Azar Rehabilitados (FEJAR) or Spanish Federation of Rehabilitated Players of Chance. It’s basically the union of several Spanish Associations and Federations of Regional Associations whose main purpose is to unify criteria and actions among all of them for the best defense of the interests of the affected by dependence on games of chance.
- Glücksspielsucht is a German organization where you can find all the essential gambling related info and ask for help to get rid of addiction anonymously calling 0800 – 1 37 27 00.
- Psicólogos Ludopatía Chile is the union of professional Chilean psychologists specialized in helping people and institutions to prevent and treat gambling addiction. Call 9 222 3860 or 9 344 8120. You can also send an email – firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. You can ask for help in the following cities: Santiago, Viña del Mar, Los Andes, San Felipe, Rinconada.
- VAD is the Flemish expertise center for alcohol, illegal drugs, psychoactive medication, gambling and gaming.
- Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust deals with different kinds of addictions, including gaming.
- UNLV International Gaming Institute aims at providing cutting-edge research and insights to global gaming leaders in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors across 50+jurisdictions around the world. The institute deals with esports and emerging technologies, responsible gaming, gaming and hospitality innovation,regulatory best practices, executive leadership training programs, and diversity and community outreach initiatives.
- Psychiatry and Behavioral Health Services helps to whoever experiencing any kind of mental, emotional and behavioral problems, including gambling addiction. The center cooperates with Bradley Hospital, The Miriam Hospital, Rhode Island Hospital, Newport Hospital, and Gateway Healthcare.
- Brain and Mind Centre of the University of Sydney strives to comprehensively understand the psychology of gambling as well as minimise gambling-related harms in the Australian community through the collaboration with industry partners, consumers, the government and NGOs in order to implement all the research results and help people in the country as well as worldwide.
- Centre for Gambling Research of the Australian National University is focused on the production and dissemination of evidence-based and multi-disciplinary gambling research.
- American Academy of Health Care Providers in the Addictive Disorders. The Academy was specially designed to establish a core set of standards for professionals (e.g., social workers, psychologists, nurses, medical doctors, and counselors from seven countries) specialized in addiction treatment.
- Helping your family and friends with Addiction is a guide focused on informing you about gambling addiction and other kinds of addictions as well as the most efficient ways to fight the addiction. You’ll learn how to identify the signs and symptoms of abuse and find out whom to address for professional assistance. Call (855) 267-9245.
More Info about Problem Gaming
- Perceived stigma and self-stigma of problem gambling: perspectives of people with gambling problems
- GET GAMBLING FACTS
- What is Compulsive Gambling?
- Don’t Bet Yet
- National Gambling Impact Study Commission
- Gambling Addiction and Problem Gambling
- Trends in children’s gambling 2011-2017
- Gambling Commission. Statistics and Research
- YOUNG PEOPLE AND GAMBLING
- Gambling Court
- British Columbia Responsible & Problem Gambling Program. British Columbia Responsible & Problem Gambling Program
- Myths about gambling addiction
- New York Responsible Gambling Hub
- The psychology of gambling
- Gambling Treatment
- Center for Gaming Research (University Libraries)
- Compulsive gambling
- How the Brain Gets Addicted to Gambling
- A REVIEW OF RESEARCH ON ASPECTS OF PROBLEM GAMBLING
- HOLIDAY LOTTERY RESPONSIBLE GAMBLING CAMPAIGN
- PROBLEM GAMBLING AWARENESS MONTH
- RISK EDUCATION FOR ATHLETES PROGRAM
- Gemini Research
- Know the Odds
- Institute for the Study of Gambling & Commercial Gaming
- Youth Decide NY.