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Seeking Help for Gambling Issues

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Gambling has been a part of human culture for centuries, offering entertainment and the chance of winning big. However, for some people, what starts as harmless fun can quickly spiral into a critical addiction. When your betting desires go beyond control, you must seek gambling addiction support. 

In this blog, we will explore the different categories of gamblers, types of gambling addiction assistance, and how you can recognise the signs of problem gambling.

6 Types of Gamblers 

Betting or gambling activity has an expansive range of characteristics based on how often you take part in it, and how it has been affecting you. 

Here are 6 main categories of gamblers explained to help you understand the difference between what is healthy and what is pathological:

1. Professional Gamblers

Professional gamblers consider gambling as a skilful profession rather than a mere pastime. Therefore, they approach it with a disciplined mindset, carefully managing their time and money. Unlike those who struggle with addiction, they patiently wait for the right opportunity with the right strategy, aiming to maximise their winnings through different bets.

2. Antisocial or Personality Gamblers

This group sees gambling not as a legitimate pursuit, but rather as a means to illicitly acquire money. They are often involved in shady practices like fixing races or using rigged equipment. Instead of viewing gambling as a recreational activity, they exploit it for personal gain, sometimes resorting to using a compulsive gambling diagnosis as a legal defence.

3. Relief and Escape Gamblers

These individuals turn to gambling as a coping mechanism to alleviate negative emotions like anxiety, depression, or loneliness. They seek refuge from life’s challenges through the temporary distraction provided by gambling. Unlike compulsive gamblers, they do not exhibit a compulsive need to gamble but rather use it as a means of emotional relief from time to time.

4. Casual Social Gamblers

For these individuals, betting serves as a form of leisure and social interaction. They engage in occasional bets, such as friendly poker games or Super Bowl wagers, without interfering with their daily responsibilities. Their involvement in gambling is sporadic and primarily for enjoyment, offering a break from routine life.

5. Serious Social Gamblers

This category includes those who consider punting to be an important hobby, but only as a recreational activity. They take pleasure from gambling but still prioritise their family and career above it. They may spend more time on gambling activities compared to casual gamblers since they are more passionate about it. Despite their enthusiasm for gambling, they maintain control over their habits and ensure it does not overshadow other aspects of their lives.

6. Compulsive or Pathological Gamblers

Compulsive gamblers are ones who have lost control over their habits and need help with betting issues. In these cases, you will find that gambling has become a dominating part of their lives to the detriment of everything else. Gambling becomes an all-consuming addiction, causing harm to relationships, finances, and personal integrity. Despite their desires to quit, they find themselves unable to break free from the grip of compulsive gambling, often resorting to unethical behaviours to fuel their addiction.

Signs and Symptoms of Gambling Addiction

Recognising the signs of gambling addiction is the first step towards seeking help. Some of the common symptoms include:

Inability to control gambling behaviour

Preoccupation with gambling activities

Lying about gambling habits, and chasing losses 

Other red flags may include borrowing money to gamble, neglecting responsibilities, and experiencing withdrawal symptoms when unable to gamble.

Impact of Gambling Addiction

Problem addiction is a serious condition and must be addressed with sincerity just like any other form of addiction. Some major impacts of betting addiction include:  

Personal, Financial, and Social Consequences of Gambling Addiction

The consequences of gambling addiction can be far-reaching and devastating. From a personal perspective, individuals may experience feelings of shame, guilt, and low self-esteem. 

Financially, gambling addiction can lead to massive debts, bankruptcy, and the loss of assets. Socially, individuals may become isolated from friends and family members, experiencing strained relationships and social stigma.

How Gambling Issues Can Affect Relationships, Work, and Mental Health

Gambling addiction can have profound effects on various aspects of life, including relationships, work, and mental health. Many individuals struggling with gambling issues experience relationship breakdowns, divorce, and estrangement from loved ones. 

In the workplace, productivity may decline, and job loss may occur due to absenteeism or poor performance. Furthermore, gambling addiction is often accompanied by co-occurring mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and substance abuse disorders.

Types of Assistance for Betting-Related Issues

If you or your loved one has been battling problem gambling for a long, it is time you find the right assistance. There are several types of help and treatment available, such as:

Gambling Addiction Support Groups 

There are numerous support groups in India that specialise in helping individuals affected by wagering addiction. These groups provide a safe and supportive environment where individuals can share their experiences, receive encouragement, and access resources for recovery. Some of them include Gamblers Anonymous, the National Council on Problem Gambling, and various local support groups.

Professional Counselling and Therapy 

Professional counselling and therapy can have a crucial role in addressing gambling problems. Therapists and counsellors trained in addiction treatment can help you explore the underlying causes of your gambling addiction, develop coping strategies, and set achievable goals for recovery. Some helpful therapies include cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), motivational interviewing, and family therapy. These are among the most effective therapeutic approaches for treating gambling addiction.

Helplines and Online Resources for Immediate Assistance

For individuals in need of immediate assistance, helplines and online resources are available 24/7. These services provide confidential support, information, and guidance to individuals and their families affected by gambling addiction. 

Helplines such as the National Problem Gambling Helpline offer crisis intervention, referrals to local treatment providers, and supportive listening for those in distress.

Steps to Seeking Help for Betting Problems

Proper treatment and counselling will be the most effective when you identify the problem yourself and seek professional assistance. 

Here is what you can do if you are looking for recovery from gambling addiction:

Acknowledging the Problem and Overcoming Denial

Acknowledging the problem and overcoming denial are critical steps in seeking help for gambling addiction. There are many people who stay in denial about the severity of their gambling problems or reluctant to get help. 

However, by accepting the reality of their situation, individuals can begin to take proactive steps towards recovery.

Reaching Out to Supportive Friends and Family Members

Supportive friends and family members can play a crucial role in the recovery process. So, if you cannot seek professional help right away, try reaching out to a friend. By sharing your struggles with loved ones, you can gain encouragement, understanding, and practical support. 

Your loved ones can help you with accessing treatment resources, providing emotional support, and helping you reach your recovery goals.

Making the Decision to Seek Professional Help and Support

Making the decision to seek professional help and support is a significant milestone in the recovery journey. Whether through therapy, counselling, or support groups, professional assistance can provide you with the tools and guidance you need to overcome your gambling addiction.

You must remember that asking for help does not make you weak. It takes strength and bravery to recognise addiction and take necessary steps towards recovery. 

Importance of Self-Care and Lifestyle Changes in the Recovery Process

Self-care and lifestyle changes play a vital role in supporting recovery from gambling addiction. While therapy, counselling, and external assistance can significantly help you regain control, there are things to take care of from an individual's end.

This includes:

Adopting healthy habits such as regular exercise, proper nutrition, adequate sleep, and mindfulness practices. 

Engaging in fulfilling activities and hobbies can help individuals rebuild their sense of identity and purpose outside of gambling. 

Trying to build a strong support network of friends, family, and peers can provide ongoing encouragement and accountability.

Final Words

Seeking gambling addiction support is a brave and necessary step towards reclaiming control of one's life. By recognising the signs of gambling addiction, getting the appropriate support and resources, and committing to the recovery process, one can overcome their gambling problems and rebuild their life. 

Remember, help is available, and recovery is possible. If you or someone you know is struggling with gambling addiction, do not hesitate to reach out for assistance.