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Getting Help: A Complete Gambling Addiction Guide

a person puts their head on a poker table behind chips and a glass of liquor

If you struggle with gambling addiction, it can be hard to know how to confront it. The good news is that gambling addiction treatment is available and effective if you know where to look.

If you want gambling addiction help but feel a bit lost, continue reading as we discuss some of the basics of the condition and how to start gaining more control over your life.

What is Gambling Addiction?

A gambling addiction, more accurately called a gambling compulsion, is characterized by an inability to stop gambling even as it objectively harms you and your loved ones.

So why is gambling addictive? It has to do with a combination of your brain’s reward system and the (often intentional) ways many gambling casinos and sites are designed. Gambling essentially hijacks your pleasure center, much like many drugs do.

When one gambles, it is easy to get excited by the adrenaline rush of risking something to win even more. Winning can then skew our perceptions and produce a high not unlike when one does drugs. 

Some people get addicted to the rush gambling produces and aren’t able to stop even as losses stack up. This, in turn, can destroy lives and relationships as they grow ever more desperate to find and then gamble away money they don’t have.

Regarding gambling addiction statistics, about 6 to 9 percent of young people are estimated to struggle with gambling. 1 percent of the entire adult population is estimated to have a severe gambling problem, where gambling has a dramatic negative impact on their lives.

Designing for Addiction

One major issue compulsive gamblers have to face is the fact gambling businesses do not have their best interests at heart. 

Casinos are designed for spectacle and distraction. It is a common trick to have no clocks installed on the floor, so visitors can’t tell how long they’ve been there. Many also don’t have windows for the same purpose. 

So long as you have money, most professional gambling establishments seek to make you feel at ease and like you’re engaging in a luxury experience. The issue, of course, is that it is all designed so you are more likely to gamble and less likely to quit when you’re behind.

In some ways, many online gambling sites are even more sinister. Here, various psychological tricks are employed to make it difficult to even realize how much you’ve spent. 

Games are designed to be vibrant and colorful, all while implying (overtly or otherwise) that your chances of winning are meaningful. The reality of course is the odds of winning almost any gambling game are below even and often vastly so.

Online gambling games also can use credit so you don’t have a good way of knowing how much you’ve spent. Many will let you spend vast sums with the only limit being that on your credit or the amount in your banking accounts.

While it won’t cure a compulsion, it helps to remember these games are never designed in your favor. If you play, you’re expected to lose more than you win. The math on gambling almost never works out, no matter what strategies you decide to employ.

Confronting Your Compulsion

The first step to dealing with any kind of addiction is admitting that one has a problem and that it needs to be fixed.

Compulsive gamblers harm themselves and others. They are often convinced they only need to “win big” to fix the harm they’ve done but this simply isn’t possible. The money is gone and further gambling will only worsen one’s financial issues.

It’s also worth noting that winning won’t “fix” a compulsion. Compulsive gamblers do win sometimes, like any gambler. The problem is the games they’re playing are designed so that, in the end, they always lose more.

Understanding and acknowledging all this is only the first step, however. Many compulsive gamblers want to stop but struggle to do so. This is where professional help becomes a necessity (or at least a major asset).

Gambling Addiction Treatment

If you want to know how to stop gambling addictions, the answer is professional intervention. While it isn’t impossible to stop on one’s own, it is much harder.

While professional gambling addiction help is somewhat rarer than drug addiction treatment, it’s still available. Here at Apex Recovery is one such example and, if you live elsewhere, a quick search will usually net at least a few options to choose from.

A good gambling addiction treatment program acknowledges that many issues often coincide with the compulsion to gamble. For example, many compulsive gamblers also become addicted to drugs and/or have severe anxiety problems.

By getting help from experts in tackling many of your problems at once, you’ll be better equipped to resist your compulsions. Willpower tends to be stronger the less one has on their plate.

Furthermore, a treatment program will help equip you and your loved ones with the tools you need to resist gambling once you’re in the wider world. You will learn a variety of techniques adapted to your needs to avoid bad situations and get out of situations if you find yourself in them.

Recovery is Possible

Recovering from gambling addiction is possible, much like any other addiction. It takes hard work and dedication but, with the right steps and the help of experts, you can overcome.

If you’re interested in how our facility may be able to help, click here. There you’ll learn how to get started with us. We also encourage you to read about the general nature of our program to make sure it’s a good fit for you! 

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