Gambling addiction is a serious health and psychological condition characterized by the incessant need to gamble despite having other more important uses for money. This condition does not limit its influence to any particular demographic but finds victims in both genders, across all age brackets and from all walks of life. Health institutions in different parts of the world recognize gambling addiction as a serious issue liable to bring about disastrous results if not checked. In fact, it is the only behavioural addiction included in the DSM-5 list, a list of behavioural and psychological conditions put together by the American Psychiatric Association.
Most times, people who suffer from gambling addiction don’t know they are addicted to gambling. To some of them, it is just a pastime while others see it as a get-rich-quick scheme. However you look at it, gambling addiction has the potential to wreck families, destroy finances and trigger complicated psychological illnesses.
Here are a few ways to determine if you or a loved one is addicted to gambling:
- The increasing need to gamble with large amounts of money even though there are no winnings
- Feeling restless or irritable when trying to stop gambling or when not able to gamble
- Making many attempts to stop gambling without succeeding
- Spending a lot of time talking about gambling or explaining away gambling as a quick way to gain riches
- Gambling to relieve stress
- Unable to quit gambling despite losing significant amounts of money
- Trying to recoup gambling losses by gambling more
- Lying to hide the knowledge that you gamble or the extent of your involvement in gambling
- Turning away from friends and family members who don’t support your gambling lifestyle
- The constant need to gamble despite other financial commitments
Experts suggest that at least five of these determinants must be present over a one year period before it can be officially confirmed that a person is a victim of gambling addiction.
According to research, the most risky form of gambling is often the quickest route to gambling addiction. Casino gambling, lottery tickets, bingo and so on can quickly become an addiction as a result of the rush that accompanies such games.
Like other forms of addiction, one can overcome gambling addiction. Support groups play a vital role in the treatment and recovery process. Support groups do not support people with gambling addiction only, others battling with other forms of addiction or disease have support groups that provide help to them. People battling with anxiety, depression and other forms of mental health conditions also have support groups that help them cope with their fears and make them feel less isolated.
Recovering from addiction is no mean task. If someone you know is battling with gambling addiction, joining a support group will make the recovery process easier and more effective. In fact, support groups are the key to staying addiction free.
What is a gambling addiction support group?
The gambling addiction recovery programme and support groups are platforms where people who battle with gambling addiction come together to share their struggles, experiences and get support from one another to deal with their gambling problem.
One interesting thing about these groups is that there are almost no professionals included; they are comprised of men and women who share the same struggle and those who have overcome the addiction and have dedicated their time and knowledge to helping others overcome it as well.
In a typical support group, there are no dues, financial obligations or paperwork; the only requirement is that you have the desire to stop gambling and to put more efforts into profitable endeavours. When you become a member of this support group, you understand that you have a gambling problem and that you are serious about overcoming it. There are no restrictions based on religion, gender, or race.
What are the benefits of joining a gambling addiction support group?
Virtually every group, association or club has benefits of membership. A person who is addicted to gambling may be struggling with some other mental health issues without knowing it. That is why members of a support group, especially those who have been in that situation before and overcame it, can recommend ideas and habits that engender recovery.
When you belong to a gambler addiction support group, you will come in contact with people who share similar challenges and experience as you. This will make you feel less isolated and afraid and you can discover new ways to confront your problem and overcome it.
How to find a support group?
You can find support groups in your area by making an enquiry on the Gambler Anonymous UK website. You will then be provided with a list of all the support groups and their coordinators in your area.
However, if you are unable to attend support group meetings, either because of work engagement or because you live in a geographically remote area or you would rather remain anonymous, you can find support groups online that provide the needed support via online message boards, group chats or even phone calls.
The type of support group you choose to help with your gambling addiction is entirely up to you, what is certain is that support plays a vital role, not only in recovery, but in helping you avoid a relapse.
Why not look for a gambler addiction support group close to you today? Work your way back to the life that is ideal for you.