10 signs of problem gambling

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Gambling addiction which is better called Compulsive gambling is the condition where indulging becomes involuntary and uncontrollable. Risking money and any other possessions would be much easier as the priorities would have been shifted towards betting it over gambling. Gambling creates a similar impact to that of drugs or alcohol which gradually leads to unwanted addiction which is then called a “Compulsive Gambling Disorder”. Repeated attempts to win, continuous wagering to try their luck, and emptying the savings in order to make double the money by betting on the games are the common behaviours seen among gambling addicts. 

Life is a matter of choices...

Every choice you make...makes you!

– John. C. Maxwell 

According to the Queensland responsible gambling Code of Practice - “Problem gambling is characterised by difficulties in limiting money and/or time spent on gambling which leads to adverse consequences for the gambler, others, or for the community.” According to the sources, around 0.5 to 1.0% of Australian adults suffer from this problem wherein for each addicted gambler around 10 more people are severely affected. 

In contrast to most regular gamblers who stop when losing or set a losing limit, people with a compulsive gambling problem are forced to keep playing to recuperate their loss. This is the guide that leads to graduating as an obsessed gambler over a period of time. This critical wagering is the key to such an obsession. This effect of problem gambling widens far beyond the individual ‘problem gambler’ and can have an adverse effect on others associated with such individuals. This modern social theory is called ‘the ripple effect’ where gambling not just shatters the mental balance of an individual but also the people around them who may or may not be dependent on the addicted individual for personal, financial, and mental needs. This effect of the problem spreads rapidly from a primary problem to an irreparable family condition if the problem of gambling is not treated well in time. 

So, how to stop gambling? How to convince the obsessive wagers? How to make them understand that this so-called “Hobby” they have developed would eat them up one day? What are those apparent signs of gambling addiction understanding that we can help our friends or family members to guide them out of this vicious circle called Problem Gambling?  

Here are the 10 signs that carry the identification badge – with “Gambling Problem” written on it in bold: 

1. Looking for reasons: Reasons to hide their obsessions like lying, not picking up calls, or unanswered messages are one of the initial stages. This starts from family to begin and might then extend to giving reasons at the workplace to spend more time wagering than working. 

2. Obsessions and arguments: The family is no more good for them as they are being vigilant towards their daily schedule. The obsession with gambling increases rapidly when our loved ones’ suggestion to curtail money wagering can sound like a curse. No one and nothing can come to the rescue. 

all in 

3. Multiple betting to win back the loss: In place of shutting down one’s limit of wagering after a certain point, the problem gamblers come back again to bet more to recuperate the loss. The ultimate destination of this practice is nothing but an addiction. 

4. Beg, Borrow or Steal: Borrowing money from the family without letting them know the reason, begging from friends posing as undergoing some financial crisis, and stealing money from family or a confidante’s pocket without a hint of shame or guilt are the signs which are definitive and dangerous. 

5. Gambling for the sake of Gambling: There is nothing in this world that can make them live. Gambling becomes their oxygen and food and the air that they breathe. Living without it makes it impossible. 

lost money 

6. Gambling more to get rid of it: This is a defence mechanism where the gamblers wager more in order to lose more which would be nothing more important than the gambling itself for the obsessed gamblers. They gamble because of the fact that there is nothing else left they think would be a lesson for them to stop gambling. But little do they know that their brain seldom disagrees. 

7. Gambling to forget gambling: After experiencing heartedness from the family, denial from friends, and undergoing depression due to loss of savings, the compulsive gamblers then gamble to get themselves back to life by doing something which would give them pleasure. 

8. Absconding from society: Being invisible in the usual places of existence as they have something much more important now in their lives – spending big bucks on pokies! The gamblers often try to avoid work and other social gatherings as their commitment to their game would have become much more important than anything else. 

playing cards 

9. Hiding their inhibitions: This is one of the trickiest signs of all where the gambler hides their desire in a smooth way so that the family would never guess the level of their obsession. They are masters in convincing their loved ones about their love for gambling. White lies and confusing the minds are their biggest weapons. 

10. Illegal acts to fulfill their needs: This is perhaps the most disturbing sign of all. Committing criminal offences to meet their gambling requirements like robbery to collect funds or killing people who show disapproval towards their gambling indulgence is the most dangerous sign of problem gambling.