One of the equivalents of an occupational hazard of adulthood is the responsibility that comes with the freedom to pick and choose your indulgences. With each drink you have, for instance, a little bit of that ability to exercise your responsibility to make the decision to stop gets eroded. The same applies with the likes of comfort eating, gambling, etc.
Some of these indulgences can have more serious ramifications than others, such as how a gambling fascination might graduate into a full-on addiction. Oftentimes by the time you realise that it is indeed a little bit more than a fascination, you could find yourself faced with consequences such as mounting debt.
The good thing is that you can always draw on the inherent responsibility that comes with being an adult to identify common signs that you might be a problem gambler. Even better news is that you can use some powerful levers to dig deep if you have to and find that inherent responsibility that comes with being an adult to help you deal with the problem and ideally even overcome it for good.
Are you preoccupied with gambling?
Constant thoughts of placing that bet signal a gambling addiction, as hard as it may be to recognise while the addiction is still ‘baking in the oven’. It’s perhaps something you only really realise once it has been pointed out, but if you do indeed find yourself thinking about gambling more often than you believe to be normal, try and find some kind of replacement activity which is more constructive. Pick up a book about gambling odds and statistical principles so that you can be in on an intellectual inhibitor of your preoccupation, for example.
Do you overspend on gambling?
It can be argued that any amount of money spent on feeding a regular gambling habit is overspending, but ordinarily there’s nothing wrong with gambling for a bit of leisurely fun. If you spend more than you can afford then it’s a sign of a possible addiction, which you can try and counteract through measures such as setting aside a fixed budget which, win or lose, you do not go a single cent over.
Do you feel the need to hide your gambling habit?
The need to conceal your habit is a definite indicator that you’re doing something you’re ashamed of, but it’s better to speak up about it than to hide it. You don’t even have to tell a loved-one, even though that’s probably the best course of action since their inherent love for you will compel them to take an active role in helping you out. They could even be the catalyst that pushes you to get professional help, if needs be.
Do you need to gamble more to achieve the same thrill?
This is when gambling addiction can turn into a serious problem, because the urge to gamble more to satisfy that thrill you get is usually a manifestation of a deeper, underlying problem with addiction. The fact that gambling is that addiction’s conduit is at least an identified outlet you can look to, to address the issue. Often finding a different, more constructive thrill-inducer does the trick, but it’s definitely not easy.
Do you see gambling as a possible solution to your debt problem?
Fortunately if you are in this situation, then nobody needs to tell you that the gambling gods do not look upon the desperate punters with favour. You never win when you NEED to! Pursue alternative sources of help, immediately, like debt counselling or the services of a legal professional dealing with personal debt. You can complement that with gambling addiction support groups and programmes, many of which will likely be suggested by the professional experts you would have made contact with.
There’s absolutely nothing to be ashamed about if the realisation that your gambling fascination might be a more serious addiction. All you really have to do is admit to yourself that there’s a potential problem then take what is often the most challenging first step to addressing the problem. What you definitely do not want to do is pretend that everything is under control and that it’ll go away or resolve itself. Take a punt on yourself to jump onto the road to recovery!