Submitted by Sarah Sense-Wilson
Gambling addiction is an illness, not a financial problem.
It starts out as a recreational activity and progresses to a compulsive behavior, which becomes the main focus of a gambler’s life.
Compulsive gambling has mental, physical, emotional and spiritual manifestations and consequences.
The main symptom of this addiction is denial and the major characteristics are loss of control, preoccupation, chasing the losses and continuing despite negative consequences.
Anxiety and depression, low self-esteem and immaturity often underlie this addiction. However, the person has to stop gambling first before they can be helped with any other issues.
Gambling addiction has a devastating effect on family life and relationships.
Compulsive gambling is a progressive illness, which starts out as a recreational activity and ends up being destructive to both the gambler and his/her families. Compulsive gambling has mental, physical,emotional and spiritual consequences. The main symptom of this addiction is denial and the major characteristic is loss of control. There is also a tendency to take bigger and bigger risks as time goes by.
Like alcoholism, it is an illness, which cannot be cured, but which can definitely be arrested. One of the main symptoms of gambling addiction is that it becomes an overriding passion that permeates all aspects of the gambler’s life. Inability to stop gambling and continuing to gamble despite negative consequences are also characteristics of gambling addiction.
Winning, losing and desperation are the three phases of compulsive gambling. There are both social and economic costs involved when someone is addicted to gambling. These include poverty, starvation, family disintegration and criminal behavior. People who gamble to excess often suffer from feelings of depression and anxiety, as well as muscular tension, fatigue, headaches and high blood pressure.
Employees who have a gambling addiction also do not perform well at work as they are preoccupied with the next bet, money problems, where to get money, etc. Engaging in criminal activities in order to fund the gambling habit becomes a reality for many gambling addicts.
Gambling addiction is something that can happen to anybody.
Below are 10 questions from the US National Council on Problem Gambling on gambling behavior.
- Have you often gambled longer than you had planned?
- Have you often gambled until your last cent was gone?
- Have thoughts of gambling caused you to lose sleep?
- Have you used your income or savings to gamble while letting bills go unpaid?
- Have you made repeated, unsuccessful attempts to stop gambling?
- Have you broken the law or considered breaking the law to finance your gambling?
- Have you borrowed money to finance your gambling?
- Have you felt depressed or suicidal because of your gambling losses?
- Have you been remorseful after gambling?
- Have you gambled to get money to meet your financial obligations?
If you or someone you know answers “Yes” to any of these questions, consider seeking assistance from a professional regarding this gambling behavior. For a variety of treatment services contact Tulalip Tribes Family Services Problem Gambling Program at (360)716-4304 or Washington State Helpline 1-800-547-6133