One of the biggest problems with gambling addiction is the way in which most people have very different opinions as to what represents a gambling problem. What some consider to be nothing more than an enjoyable hobby may to other people be considered dangerously excessive. Where to draw the line therefore is a difficult subject and one that can make it tricky for those with genuine gambling problems to know when and where to seek support.
What any addiction counsellor in Kent will tell you is that addiction is a complicated subject which is entirely different from one case to the next. Which is why picking up on a gambling problem at the earliest stages can be extremely difficult – addicts often not beginning to address the problem until it has become dangerously advanced. Nevertheless, it is up to the individual in question alone to determine when and where their activities and habits have become problematic.
So with this in mind, what follows is a brief introduction to seven common warning signs of a possible gambling problem:
1 – Compulsion to Gamble
First up, there’s a difference between gambling because you want to gamble and doing so simply because you feel compelled to do so. Or in other words, when and where you find yourself unable to stop yourself from gambling even if you want to, this usually constitutes a problem in the making. There are plenty of people who gamble relatively heavily, though do so entirely out of choice and have the ability to say no. Such individuals may also get genuine pleasure from every gambling experience. By contrast, those with gambling problems gamble simply as a lifestyle without a second thought and often without any joy whatsoever.
2 – Inability to Quit
One of the few things that remain similar across most addictions is the way in which inability to quit represents a sure-fire a warning sign. If you have begun to suspect that you have a problem and decided that the time has come to quit, this is a good thing. However, if you have tried on more than one occasion to quit or cut down and have failed at every attempt, this is not a good thing at all. What this essentially confirms is that it is the gambling itself that has taken control out of your hands. And in any instance where you have lost control over any such activity, this is the very dictionary definition of an addiction.
3 – Ignoring the Consequences
Gambling addiction has the potential to bring about devastating consequences in a multitude of ways. It can have an effect on a person’s professional life, domestic life, social life and finances, to such an extent that it can entirely destroy their life if left unaddressed. As mentioned, it’s all-too common for those with gambling problems to wait until things reach crisis point to seek the required advice and support. Nevertheless, the first time any of these effects or consequences are noted, this is the time to seek immediate professional advice.
4 – Withdrawal Symptoms
Likewise, gambling addiction is similar to many other addictions in that attempting to quit or cut down can bring about any number of withdrawal symptoms and side effects. Which can be surprisingly severe and even physical in nature. Some find themselves unable to focus on anything else whatsoever, others feel the kind of anxiety that makes them physically ill and then there are those who may develop anything from chronic insomnia to extreme depression. In all such instances, this is a clear and comprehensive sign that the time has come to seek professional help
5 – Hiding Activities
Last but not least, it is often said that when you begin hiding in any given activities from those around you, this is as good as an outright admission that what you are doing is detrimental. The simple fact of the matter is that if you are gambling in a manner that is safe, controlled and in no way problematic, you should have no shame in doing it freely and confidently, out in the open. By contrast, if you find yourself in a situation where you are hiding your activities from others or perhaps lying about your gambling habits, chances are you are doing so because you know there is a problem. Nevertheless, you are also making clear the fact that you do not have sufficient control over your activities to cut down or quit.