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Understanding Gambling Addiction and How to Get Help

Casino games are usually fun, and just because someone plays casino games frequently doesn’t mean they have a gambling addiction and vice versa. It comes down to whether your habits are disrupting your life.

Our experts are going to teach you what spheres of life gambling affects as well as what steps you can take to overcome it. If you know someone who should read this, feel free to forward this page.

Gambling addiction in Australia

What Is Gambling Addiction?

In simple words, when you can’t control the urge to gamble even though you can’t sustain any more losses, it’s considered gambling addiction. Clinically, it’s a form of mental disorder. Interestingly, it belongs to the same category as substance abuse and impulse-control disorders. Below you can check out the types of it.

Compulsive Gambling

It is a type of disorder when the person cannot control his urge to gamble for real money. The signs of it include:

  • Compulsive gambling victims gamble regardless of the outcome, and they don’t bother with consequences.
  • They keep placing bets even after repeated unsuccessful efforts.
  • Sometimes categorised as pathological gambling by professionals.

Binge Gambling

Similar to compulsive gambling, but the urge is occasional. But once they start, they can’t stop gambling. The obvious signs include:

  • On the surface, binge gamblers seem to be in control of their gambling behaviour.
  • In fact, they can behave completely normally for weeks or even months at a time.
  • From time to time, compulsive gambling behaviour takes over.

Problem Gambling

Problem gambling is a serious issue that may have serious consequences for individuals. It is caused by gambling effects that can disrupt the players’ regular life.

The signs may include:

  • Out-of-pattern gambling behaviour hampers relationships, financials, or other aspects of their daily lives.
  • Chasing losses and lying to close family members is a common symptom.
  • As time goes by, they realise that gambling affects their normal life and seek treatment.

How Do I Know If I Have a Gambling Problem?

If you are still not sure whether you have a gambling addiction or not, there are 10 signs to check this fact, and we will eagerly share them with you:

  • The absence of control over your funds: spending more money on gambling than you can afford.
  • Frequent stress, irritation, anxiety, or feeling of guilt.
  • Constant unsuccessful attempts to recoup your lost funds by gambling.
  • Disputes with your family about gambling limitations.
  • The absence of communication with your non-gambling friends.
  • Lies about gambling as your defensive strategy.
  • Gambling is the only thing you are interested in.
  • Multiplying debts on your account, which you do not care about.
  • Regularly increasing amounts of bets provide you with the same dose of adrenaline.
  • Painful pauses while gambling.

How to Deal With Sudden Gambling Urges

If you recognize your problem and plan to harness your urge to gamble, you should follow the tips below:
  • ✔️
    Don’t Be Alone: You can lose control when you’re alone. If you feel that way, call a friend or a family member.
  • ✔️
    Keep Postponing: This is a way to trick your mind. Tell yourself that you’ll not gamble for the next 5 minutes and keep increasing the time to 15 minutes, an hour, and so on.
  • ✔️
    Think of the Consequences: Take a moment to think about the money problems and relationship problems that might occur if you lose control.

Gambling Addiction Help Organisations

If you’re looking for support groups to stop gambling, you can check out the organisations below.

Gambling Help Online

Gambling Help Online

Gambling Help Online is a support group that is funded by the Australian government to help people with any gambling issues.

Gamblers Anonymous

Gamblers Anonymous

This gamblers anonymous meeting is one of the best support groups in Australia, with meeting locations all over the country.

SMART Recovery Australia

SMART Recovery Australia

It is an organisation that helps people with compulsive gambling disorders treatment. Gambling disorder victims can get help from professionals within group meetings.

DayHab Addiction Treatment Centre

DayHab

This is a centre where professional psychologists and trainers work with gambling disorder victims to set them free from their bad habits.

Gamblers Help

Gamblers Help

A Victoria-based free gambling disorder treatment organisation with plenty of successful case studies. It’s funded by the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation.

Lifeline

Lifeline

Lifeline deals with serious gambling cases, such as suicide attempts from severe gambling disorder. It takes a research-based treatment to help people in need through support groups.

Open Arms

Open Arms

A help organisation that focuses on peer support for veterans and family counselling. Compulsive gambling disorder is also part of their expertise.

What Can Cause a Gambling Addiction?

Various things can induce gambling disorders, like compulsive gambling. Below you can check out the reasons to better identify your gambling problem.

Biological Factors

Compulsive gamblers often have underlying biological factors that facilitate their addictive behaviour. For example, if someone has lower levels of norepinephrine or serotonin, it’s hard for them to control impulses. Studies also show that pathological gambling induces neural responses similar to cocaine addiction.

Psychological Factors

If a person suffering from problem gambling has underlying mental conditions like unmanaged ADHD and personality disorders, they’re more likely to suffer from gambling disorders. They tend to believe the likelihood of a random event is higher than a tested event.

Social Factors

Sometimes, seemingly harmless social factors like stress, financial problems, loneliness or trauma can lead to a gambling disorder. Gambling problems can be a result of a long-term family legacy that passes down to members. Only a diagnostic and statistical manual can help navigate this problem.

Potential Unwanted Effects of Gambling

Any kind of gambling problem can be devastating for a family or an individual. The list below demonstrates its effect on one’s life:

  • Finances: Money problems are the most obvious outcome of any compulsive gambling disorder. The person involved in compulsive gambling may burn through all their money to gamble.
  • Mental Health: Such environmental factors as stress and uncertainty can result in severe depression and anxiety. Long exposure to casino games can be just as harmful. Suicide attempts are fairly common among compulsive gamblers.
  • Relationships: Any kind of dependency has a very adverse effect on relationships. A person suffering from a gambling disorder like compulsive gambling may also suffer family problems, disputes, and even abuse.

What Are Treatment Plans for Gambling Disorders?

No matter how severe compulsive gambling issues get, it’s treatable. Australians have enough paths to take care of the warning signs.

Residential Rehab Programs

Suitable for people suffering from severe gambling disorder. These facilities offer round-the-clock support to help patients stop gambling and rescue them from harmful gambling effects. They also provide mental health support for an overall healthier lifestyle.

Treating Underlying Mental Health Issues

Mental conditions like obsessive-compulsive disorder, ADHD, etc., have direct connections to a gambling problem. Hence, treating these underlying issues can help solve gambling problems as well. Whether you take the family therapy route or the clinical route, the outcome is the same.

Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy

This is a very well-known method to help patients with any kind of behavioural issues. Helping patients rationalise their false beliefs of gambling benefits, as well as teaching them to fight sudden urges, is part of this treatment plan.

Counselling & Therapy

Perfect for binge gamblers or people who don’t gamble very aggressively. Therapy or counselling can help you work through specific issues as a result of a gambling disorder to help fix relationships and financial issues.

How to Help a Gambling Addict

In case someone you know is showing signs of a compulsive gambling problem, it’s your moral responsibility to help them. Rather than being furious at them for this bad habit, your approach should be constructive. Suggesting therapy is the first step in helping someone. From there, you can track them so that they don’t get access to gambling platforms or funds to gamble with.

How to Prevent Suicide Attempts Related to Gambling

Gamblers often experience depression and have suicidal thoughts. However, there is always hope for better times! Contact any organisation from the list below to learn the reasons to keep on living.

These organisations can also help family members and relatives of gambling addicts in the most challenging situations.

Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue

This is a support service for those who feel anxious, depressed, or even suicidal. Here you can get help from professionals 24/7 via hotline or live chat, as well as communicate with people who have similar problems within the dedicated online forums.

Suicide Call Back Service

Suicide Call Back Service

Suicide Call Back Service helps Australians to deal with suicidal thoughts and the consequences of anxiety and depression. The service not only provides suicide prevention help but also offers professional assistance to those who lost relatives due to suicide.

Samaritans

Samaritans

This organisation represents another opportunity to communicate with professional psychologists when you feel anxious or depressed. The project also provides its members with personal and group training, as well as forums where people share their experience of self-help.

Stop Gambling

The decision to stop gambling once and forever is the last step for those who realise that they cannot control their gambling behaviour anymore. However, there is always a temptation to start gambling again. If you want someone to handle your addiction, then you would prefer a self-exclusion from casinos, clubs, taverns, and other places where you could gamble.

ACT Gambling and Racing Commission

ACT Gambling and Racing Commission

ACT Gambling and Racing Commission provides gamblers with an exclusion program that forbids people from participating in any gambling activities. You can download and fill in the self-exclusion form to start the corresponding process. After your request proceeds, you will have no right to enter any licensed gambling houses in Australia.

Busting Problem Gambling Myths

To wrap up, we have decided to share some myths about gambling with you. Here are 5 of the most popular myths about gambling for you to stay informed and forearmed.

Myth Fact
🔔 As long as I can afford to gamble, it is not a problem. Basically, gambling addiction influences not only your financial status — addicted people experience problems with socialisation and emotional instability. They usually ruin their families and hurt the people they love. Moreover, gambling addicts commonly overlook their financial issues and see their debts only when it is too late.
🔔 You cannot always lose; at some point, your luck must change to better. Most gamblers understand their winning chances in the wrong way because they tend to summarise their overall experience within a gambling session to one “winning probability”. In reality, every time a roulette spins or cards are dealt, you have the same chance to win, no matter how many times you have won or lost before.
🔔 An addicted gambler is only the one who bets every day. The main point of gambling addiction is not expressed in gaming session frequency or duration but in the consequences of uncontrolled betting. If you have debts and still cannot control your emotional impulse to bet further, then you probably have a problem with gambling, even if it happens once in your life.
🔔 My relatives and friends are guilty of my addiction. One of the common mistakes of an addicted person is to blame everyone around except him- or herself. The first step to treating gambling addiction is to accept your own fault. Family members of an addicted gambler must not take the blame but help this person through professional treatment.
🔔 An addicted gambler is easy to recognise. One of the main symptoms of addicted behaviour is the denial of the problem by the gambler and attempts to hide it from relatives and friends.

References and Sources

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