May 30, 2024

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The Dark Side of Gambling Addiction

Gambling addiction can have severe repercussions for those involved, from loss of employment and relationships to debt accumulation and unpaid bills and credit card balances. Sometimes these debts are even hidden through deceitful methods like lying and even theft.

If you know someone with gambling addiction, be supportive. Encourage them to seek professional help and consult a therapist.

1. Anxiety

Gambling may appear like an enjoyable activity for some, but it can also be extremely taxing and overwhelming for those struggling with the activity. People struggling with gambling may experience anxiety prior to or following a losing streak; to manage this discomfort they may attempt to alleviate it by turning to drugs and alcohol as short-term relief, yet these substances only provide short-term relief and lead to further harmful dependency behaviors.

At another telling sign of troubled finances is when someone begins lying to cover their losses or avoid confronting about how their money has been spent, leading to relationship, family and career strain. They may borrow from friends or family or take out credit in order to pay bills.

Keep in mind that for anyone suffering from gambling disorder to change, they need to feel the natural effects of their behavior first and it is not your duty to shield them from these.

2. Depression

Depression can be an early telltale sign of gambling addiction, often leading to lost jobs, broken relationships or the neglect of important educational opportunities due to spending all their free time gambling at casinos. Depression also often prompts individuals to lie to friends and family in order to conceal their compulsive gambling behaviors; some may even steal or sell belongings just so they can fund their habit further.

Gamblers often feel discouraged after failing to achieve their gambling goals or losing money, leading them to experience depression. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), an evidence-based form of talk therapy that assists individuals in changing unhealthy betting behaviors and beliefs while teaching how to cope with triggers like anxiety or depression, may provide relief.

3. Guilt

Gambling can interfere with the brain’s reward center, leading to feelings of guilt when people engage in behavior they regret – particularly when losing large sums of money or other assets – which may ultimately lead to self-destructive acts, such as suicide.

Prioritizing gambling over other activities or responsibilities is an undeniable sign that someone is suffering from a problem with gambling. Any attempts at concealing how much time someone spends gambling or lying about how much they win/lose should also serve as warning signals.

Uncovering gambling activity can cause financial issues, including not paying bills and maxing out credit cards, which can eventually spiral out of control and require theft or borrowing to continue funding their habit.

4. Stress

Stress may be an indicator that you have a gambling problem. Although many gamble to relieve tension and find enjoyment from it, this activity can become destructive: financial strain as they lose more than they can afford to win; emotional distress as relationships between family and friends become compromised as a result; both financial and emotional ruin result.

At the same time, it’s equally essential to address any other mental health issues which could be contributing to compulsive gambling. Therapy can assist you with learning healthy ways of managing feelings and stress levels in healthy ways.

Psychotherapy can include cognitive-behavioral therapy, which teaches how to alter unhealthy gambling thoughts and behaviors, psychodynamic therapy which explores how unconscious processes influence our actions, marriage counseling or career guidance.

5. Self-harm

Self-harm may seem harmless enough, but this mental health condition must be treated immediately as it can lead to suicide and lead to other mental illnesses like depression and anxiety.

Physical indicators of self-harming behaviors may include changes to appetite and weight as well as dark circles under the eyes. People engaging in self-harm often suffer from insomnia which leads to fatigue and lethargy.

Psychotherapy (talk therapy) can be an effective means of treating gambling addiction; it identifies and alters harmful emotions, thoughts and behaviors to create change within an individual. Treatment sessions usually involve working closely with an accredited mental health professional. If you or a loved one is struggling with gambling addiction, seek assistance immediately.

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