Are You A Compulsive Gambler?
For most people who gamble, it's a time for fun and recreation. But for others, gambling has become a serious problem, resulting in loss of jobs, financial ruin, broken homes, criminal acts, and suicide.
When money, savings, and borrowing options are exhausted, compulsive gamblers may write bad checks, resort to forgery or fraud, embezzle funds, and even steal from their own families. They will do almost anything to get the money to stay in the action, or to pay off the bad debts incurred through the gambling itself.
An Addictive Disorder
Not all people who gamble are addicted. The majority of people who gamble do so recreationally, or as part of social activities, and they do so in a thoughtful and measured way. But, compulsive gamblers will gamble against all odds. For them, rolling the dice, picking a number, pulling the lever on a slot machine, or placing a bet in any form becomes more important than home, marriage, family, work, or financial security. Compulsive gamblers live in a world of debt, deception, and desperation. They are out-of-control and need help.
Signs & Symptoms of Compulsive Gambling
- Do you spend a lot of time gambling or thinking about it?
- Do you ever feel anxiety and remorse due to gambling?
- Do you borrow money to finance your gambling?
- Do you boast about winning, without taking into account your losses?
- Do you resent using "gambling" money to support yourself or your family?
- Do disputes surface in your marriage or family due to gambling?
- Do you hide funds or take out secret "loans" to cover your losses?
- Do you keep the amount of your losses a secret from family and friends?
- Do you have financial problems, yet continue to gamble?
Impact On The Workplace
As compulsive patterns continue, work begins to interfere with the opportunity to gamble. The compulsive gambler is often late or absent from work, uses the phone excessively, and alienates co-workers due to loans that are not paid as promised.
The Family Is Affected
Compulsive gambling harms marriages, and disrupts family life. The compulsive gambler's obsession steals time, financial security and attention away from spouse and children. Feeling abandoned and alone, the compulsive gambler's loved ones experience problems of self-worth and bouts of depression. The family becomes isolated and troubled.
The Compulsive Pattern
Compulsive gamblers go through a progressive pattern of winning and losing that seems like an exciting adventure. Excitement dominates as worries disappear. The wins create a sense of power and confidence. The losses are seen as just a bad streak of luck. But, compulsive gamblers begin losing more than they win. More time is spent gambling to recover losses and repay loans. As losses increase, the compulsive gambler borrows money to "get even", then hides those losses and borrows more.
"Yah got to know when to hold them…" ~ "Know when to fold them – know when to walk away...and know when to run."
The End Of The Line
Sooner or later, compulsive gambling becomes an obsession. Life centers around "getting even" and paying off debts, often with borrowed money, bad checks, or overextended credit cards. The compulsive gambler is still looking for that "big hit" that will even the score. But, the big hit never comes. Lies and secret loans abound. As the condition progresses, still greater risks are taken. Depression and despair are an ever present part of the compulsive gambler's life.
There Is Help
Recovery programs providing help, guidance and support are available. If you think you or someone you love has a gambling problem. . . you have already taken the first step toward recovery ... you've recognized the problem. Services for compulsive gambler's offer an opportunity to explore the troublesome patterns that have emerged, and offer options that can lead to a more satisfying way of life without the compulsion to gamble.
Compulsive gambling is a solvable condition.