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The Browns kept a lot of things from their children in the name of protecting them. In their household, it was the mother’s gambling addiction.
Monica had been gambling probably all her life. She recalls that she started gambling and it was going out of control around 1998. The very first time she put in five cents and won two hundred dollars. That’s how it started.
After she had been gambling for about four years, she and her husband separated. He didn’t just leave because of her gambling but that was very much one of the reasons he left.
Depression, anxiety, and substance abuse are often associated with a serious gambling addiction.
Gambling can be compared with addiction to drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, or junk food. It is very often as destructive and dangerous as other addictions, often ruining relationships, careers, and even one’s life. It is very important to start seeking help ASAP when you think you cannot control your gambling habit anymore!
When you gamble away money, you do not have, or shop to avoid problems in an uncontrollable way, the money problems it creates can screw up your future for a long time. One thing is certain, all addictions can cause financial problems.
Addiction Definition & Meaning
Addiction: what is it? It is a compulsive, chronic, physiological, or psychological need for a habit-forming substance, behavior, or activity having harmful physical, psychological, or social effects and typically causing well-defined symptoms (such as anxiety, irritability, tremors, or nausea) upon withdrawal or abstinence. (Source: Merriam-Webster)
Problems Gambling Can Cause
People who gamble compulsively often have substance misuse problems, personality disorders, depression, or anxiety. Compulsive gambling may also be associated with bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Addictions Are Expensive
Most addictions cost a lot of money. Whether you are gambling or shopping, that’s probably money you do not have to throw away. This is especially true if you are relying on credit to pay for your gambling or shopping addiction, which is true for most people who have this problem.
When you owe money that you cannot pay, the interest rate gets higher, and your credit can be ruined for years if you are not careful. This cannot just affect your ability to get more credit when you need it but can also affect your ability to get or keep your job in some cases.
Addictions Create False Priorities
When you have an addiction, it seems like nothing else is as important. Even something that was healthy in the past can become an unhealthy addiction that can cause so many problems for you financially, emotionally and even health-wise. Instead of putting the things that are truly important first, people with addictions tend to put the addiction first.
An addicted person will lie to their friends and family. They may even spend their child’s college money to feed their need to do their addiction. The priority in their mind is so strong that they cannot overcome it alone usually. It may seem as if the person who is addicted does not care about their family. However, they do care. They merely cannot get out of their addiction and compulsively continue the behavior because it feels important.
Stress from Addictions Cause Health Problems
Sometimes someone who is addicted to anything can become very unhealthy. They may choose to do the addictive behavior over anything else. They may choose to gamble instead of eating, and sometimes gambling and drinking go together to create even more problems. People who have one addiction tend to be prone to having others.
In addition, the stress associated with the addiction may lead to feelings of guilt, anxiety, and depression. This can cause the person with the addiction to needing serious mental and physical healthcare, which is also a big expense for most people. Due to this, often they will avoid paying for that treatment and end up worse.
Addiction Can Create Costly Legal Troubles
Because addictions are embarrassing to most people, they will tend to avoid dealing with them at all costs. Often, that will create costly legal problems for themselves and their family. For example, owing money to a casino, or getting involved with bad people who gamble illegally, that money is owed to. Worse, they might steal to fill their shopping addiction, which may wind up resulting in court cases, trials, and lots of money.
Questions for Gambling Addicts
All addictions can cause financial problems because the addictive behaviors as well as the treatment can be expensive. Realizing that you have an addiction does not release you from being responsible for your actions and your financial responsibilities. The best way to get through addiction is to take responsibility, pay off your debt, and work toward new healthier behaviors. Consider establishing new habits like saving money and reducing, recycling, and reusing items.
The following questions are directed to anyone who may have a gambling problem. These questions are provided to help the individual decide if he or she is a compulsive gambler and wants to stop gambling.
- Did you ever lose time from work or school due to gambling?
- Has gambling ever made your home life unhappy?
- Did gambling affect your reputation?
- Have you ever felt remorse after gambling?
- Did you ever gamble to get money to pay debts or otherwise solve financial difficulties?
- Did gambling cause a decrease in your ambition or efficiency?
- After losing did you feel you must return as soon as possible and win back your losses?
- After a win did you have a strong urge to return and win more?
- Did you often gamble until your last dollar was gone?
- Did you ever borrow to finance your gambling?
- Have you ever sold anything to finance gambling?
- Were you reluctant to use “gambling money” for normal expenditures?
- Did gambling make you careless of the welfare of yourself or your family?
- Did you ever gamble longer than you had planned?
- Have you ever gambled to escape worry or trouble?
- Have you ever committed, or considered committing, an illegal act to finance gambling?
- Did gambling cause you to have difficulty sleeping?
- Do arguments, disappointments or frustrations create within you an urge to gamble?
- Did you ever have the urge to celebrate any good fortune with a few hours of gambling?
- Have you ever considered self-destruction or suicide as a result of your gambling?
Most compulsive gamblers will answer yes to at least seven of these questions.
Gambling Addiction: How to Get Rid of It
Gambling addictions in our families are a serious social issue that society is still trying to address. With gambling addiction, gamblers just do not lose money but life and family as well.
That is why it is extremely important to solve the problem. There are available measures and methods to treat gambling addiction.
Some of these are:
Usually, gambling addicts are treated through medications in the form of anti-depressants or what medical experts call Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors or SSRR. This medication has been proven to treat pathological gamblers or those who feel the blow whenever they win.
Through Psychological Treatments
Most psychologists contend that the problem of gambling addiction is often associated with a problem in cognitive behavior. Hence, it would be better to let gambling addicts undergo cognitive behavior therapy.
In this process, gambling addicts are taught how to get rid of negative ideas and replace them with positive ones.
Through Group Therapy
Group discussions are also effective in treating gambling addiction. Through this method, gamblers will get to interact and discuss their own personal problems that led them to gamble.
One great advantage of this therapy is that gamblers get to listen to other gamblers’ stories. They will be able to understand some angles that may sound just like their very own situations but were unable to identify them because of the feeling of rejection or shame.
So, the best way to cure or treat gambling addiction is to lessen the chances of playing. This is because the more people can play the greater the chances that they may become addicted.