Gambling can be addictive as drugs, booze, cigarettes or sex. Gambling to some people has the same affect. This form of addiction is called the hidden illness as there are no physical signs in the person so addicted. The American Psychological Association, PSA, classifies this compulsion as a mental health disorder of impulse control.
How does one discriminate between wise gambling and conpulsive gambling?
Compulsive gambling is chronic and a progressive disease that can be diagnosed and is treatable. There are two types of this addiction, action gambling and escape gambling. The action gambler is all about risk taking and is addictive as a cocaine addicted addict. This version of gambling addiction requires the gambler to be in action with other gamblers and by taking risk and winning they gain the appearance of a winner. In this case the action is the drug. This gambler needs the rush of action and the rush of adrenaline when they win.
Escape gambling is about blotting out a discomforting feeling or emotional life crisis. The effect of the gambling is a numbing effect that overcomes all other feelings. Escape gamblers are slot player or games involving no other human contact. Men tend to be action gamblers and women tend toward escape gambling. Teens are three times more likely to become addicted gamblers than adults. The addiction crosses all age groups and sexes. The same people are likely to use tobacco, drugs, booze more often than people of the same age or sex.
There are ten diagnostic criteria that PSA recognizes. There is preoccupation, reliving past gambling experiences, handicapping or planning the next venture, or thinking of ways to get the money to gamble again. Tolerance, the need to gamble with bigger stakes to achieve the excitement that used to come with smaller stakes. Withdrawal, the symptoms are restlessness or being irritable when trying to stop and cut down on gambling. Escape is just the ability to think of nothing else when gambling including problems or a dysphoric mood. Chasing, after losing money gambling, returning another day to get even (chasing one's losses) Lying to the family members or therapists to conceal the involvement in gambling. Crime or Illegal acts committed in order to finance the gambling. Risking significant relationships, jobs or career opportunities due to gambling. Bailout by friends and family to relieve pressure from a financial situation caused by gambling. Loss of control is repeated attempts to quit or cut back that fail. Where are you in these ratings? Five or more a pathological gambler, three or four a problem gambler and one or two an at risk gambler.
These are questions to ask of yourself.
Have you lost time from work or school due to gambling? Have you had family problems from gambling? Did gambling affect your reputation? Do you feel remorse after gambling? Have you gambled to pay bills or to solve financial probes? Did gambling cause a loss of ambition? Do you chase losses? Do you lose until every dollar is gone? Did you finance you gambling? Have you thought about doing an illegal act to finance your gambling? Do you have trouble sleeping after a loss? Have you thought about suicide after gambling? According to Gamblers Anonymous if your answer to these questions is seven yeses or more you have a compulsive gambling problem. Be smart and analyze why you gamble. Do not put yourself or your family in jeopardy by doing things to gamble that are destructive to yourself or your family. If you have a problem get help or at least admit that you do and you should be careful of your emotions or the full moon or whatever sets you off.