online gambling addiction is
a very sensitive subject. Statistics say that
at least 6% of the national population will experience
some type of gambling addiction in their lifetimes.
It is undoubtedly due to the increasing number
of opportunities and avenues available for gambling
that this addiction will increase.
What is the definition of gambling? It is the
placing at risk an object of value such as money
that a certain event will or will not occur in
return for something of even greater value than
the amount risked.
The most coomon form of gambling is sportsbetting
where we place money on a team winning but it
does not have to be money.
You would have seen movies where poker players
gamble their horses and their wives even! It is
worth noting that with the huge established casinos
the odds will always be in favor of the casino
on all games so they cannot lose no matter what
The Problem Gambler
Gambling can become addictive and as a result
we have today what we call problem gamblers. People
whose addiction have caused countless problems
and disruptions to their own lives and those of
their loved ones.
Some of the outward signs of a compulsive gambler
when at at the tables is one who is consistently
losing whilst chasing money already lost, no sense
of control, always in denial about their habit,
untrustworthy, a liar and full of deception. All
these lead to loss of family , carreer, creation
of insurmountable debt and culminates in illegal
They seem to justify their actions that it is
their monies and they are free to do whatever
they want with it. Not so! they have a responsibility
to their families their employer, co workers and
to society as a whole. Clearly their actions affects
many lives negatively.
People like these need
to be conviced to see a gambling therapist.
The damage they cause to their family lives
are truly immense.
Clearly it would be folly to accept the problem
gamblers definition of gambling addiction. Such
a definition would be to far removed from the
reality and will only serve to satisy his or
her desire to contine along the same road.
Therefore the definition of problem gambling
should only be ascertained by the actions or
non actions of these addicts for let's face
it, this is what they are. They affect others
We must never be convinced by their sometimes
well enunciated and compelling arguments as
to what constitutes problem gambling. At no
time has the saying "actions speak louder
than words" a truer statement than when
applied to addictive gamblers. We must let their
behaviour shape the definition of problem gambling.
The Problem Gambler Behaviour Pattern
Now that you are aware of the definition of
problem gambling and the characteristics of
a gambling addict do you recognise such behaviour
in anyone you know? Think and see if you can
identify such persons. Obviously they will not
be as easily recognisable as an alcoholic but
the signs can clearly be recognised with awareness.
Such persons are unable to exercise nay kind
of self regulation.
They almost never realise or accept that they
have a serious problem and it is affecting their
family but you may know their family members
who are being affected and can bring it to the
attention of this addict. Do not be fooled by
their justifications for their actions, recognise
thTje patterns of behaviour they display.
The addictive gambler is probably slowly on
his or her way to full bankruptcy, they never
win you see, that's the system. They are always
borrowing, consolidating and and on the periphery
of illegal activity.
But where does the money to gamble come from?
Salary, savings, credit cards are the biggest
culprit here, they simply acquire more and more
cards and max them out. Then they borrow from
freinds, family members, the financial institutions
and money lenders. Then they steal! From their
workplace and from their spouses. They will
also beg and pawn their house possessions like
the family jewelry and appliances etc.
Their minds are lterally filled with thoughts
of that next set of cards or getting 3 cherries
or whatever their addiction is based on. Gambling
occupies their every waking moment and if we
could verify it would even be their sleeping
moments as well.
Thoughts of where to get money from for the
next session, how to get there unless of course
they are playing online. How can they cut other
types of costs like accomodation, they might
move to a cheaper place and so on.
The picture being painted here makes it seem
like gambling is all evil. Certainly not! -
for the majority of us it is a wonderful passtime
and hobby. Because we exhibit self control.
The problem gambler does not exhibit any such
tendencies for him gambling is his life's ambition
and goal. It's the reason for living, his nirvana.
The most glaring and incredible sign of the
chronic gambler is watching the slow but sure
loss of self control. A partial observer can
actually see this behaviour build up over time
and it's amazing to see the decline and the
difficulty in not recognising it or putting
a halt to it. This growing desire to gamble
is matched in intensity with the growing loss
of self control and it can literally change
a person completely for the worse.
Strangley, not even the problem gambler himself
will recognise or believe some of their actions
when told of it later. Their family members
will be in shock that the person they once know
and was such a loving, kind and giving person
could have changed into such a horrible, mean
and downright nasty human being.
Unfortunately the reality is that a problem
gambler is really a very untrustworthy person.
This is because this addiction creates such
a deeply embedded behaviour pattern of lies
and decption that it is almost impossible to
get rid of it totally.
It almost becomes part of the person's DNA thereafter.
Not even after they might have seemingly recovered
can this ex problem gamber be trusted.
The reason for this seems to be that for such
a long period of time during the addictive phase
life's priorities were upstaged by the need
to gamble and so caring for one's spouse or
putting aside funds for the kids education or
a long vacation in the Carribbean are no longer
important or even thought of anymore. All trust
is destroyed and that we know can never ever
The stress caused by the problem gambler's actions
will inadvertently cause the same in affected
family members leading to long term health problems
and its attendant costs.
Even if the person says and does nice things
in an effort to prove that he or she is back,
it may just be a smokescreen to quickly get
back to the tables. This of course requires
money. Monitor the sources of monies and you
will get your answers.
Remember you may feel you are being kind when
you loan or give money to a problem gambler
and that it will help him overcome his problem
when he loses it, it does not, it simply exacerbates
the addiction even more.
Problem Gambler Recovery
We have to be hopeful and believe that recovering
from a gambling addiction is possible. It has
happened before and it can
happen again. The key though is unstinting support
and help from the problem gambler's closest
family and friends. There is no way they can
manage it on their own, they will not have the
To be noted also is that like any othey type
of addiction what works for on eperson may not
owrk for another. It all depends on how deep
the addiction is and particularly the circumstances
which led to it in the first place.
There are several types of treatments for gambling
addiction and they all involve a combination
of group therapy and professional individual
counselling sessions. There are also group sessions
for the family members most affected by the
addicts actions and also sessions on money management
techinques moving foward.
Your family doctor or one of the gambling hotlines
can refer you to one of the several gambling
addiction programmes available. The success
rate has been mixed with an abstinence rate
from 8% to 55% within 12 months of being in
the program. Refer someone you know now.