Gambling is one of the few behaviors that have been officially recognized by experts as addictive.
Problem gambling is an example of a process addiction, an addictive disorder that does not involve ingesting a chemical substance. The symptoms are similar to drug addiction. The gambler can’t control his habits. He keeps playing in spite of losing a lot of money. He feels anxious and upset when not gambling and thinks about doing it constantly. Overcoming gambling addiction is not easy, but it is necessary for getting your life back on track when gaming has nearly ruined it.
Recognizing a gambling addiction
How do you know if you have a problem with gambling as opposed to a healthy passion for the game? There are many signs that indicate an addictive habit. As with drug addiction, you first begin to build up a tolerance. Going to the casino or playing online poker once a week just isn’t enough. You need to increase the frequency to feel good. Then you feel withdrawal between gambling sessions. You may feel anxious or nervous until you can get back to gaming again.
Another sign that you may have a problem with gambling is continuing to play in spite of the harm it causes. If you keep playing even when you are losing money and facing financial problems, or if you play in spite of the stress it puts on your relationships, you need gaming addiction treatment to overcome your problem.
Getting help for problem gambling
How to overcome gambling addiction begins with recognizing the problem, but then you need to do something about it. Turn to someone you trust to help you find the treatment you need. There are many addiction counselors, therapists, psychologists and other professionals with the experience to help you work through your issue and give up gambling.
In getting treatment for your gambling addiction, you have a few choices. You can work one-on-one with a therapist who will walk you through your motivations for gambling and help you learn to control your urges. You can enroll in an inpatient facility, which is the best option if you feel that you are out of control and need intensive treatment. You can also opt to join a gambling support group. A combination of any two or all three of these options for care is also a possibility.
When you do choose a treatment or support option, it is important that you follow through and that you have loved ones around you to support the changes you are making. If you have a setback, don’t feel as if you failed or let yourself down. Reasons for relapse are numerous and most addicts experience at least one on the path to being well again. Stick with your treatment program and rely on others for support. You can turn your life around.