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Gambling Addiction

Gambling AddictionGambling addiction (also known as compulsive gambling) is widely thought of as an illness that can never be cured, but can be restrained. Gambling addiction is an impulse control disorder, as gambling addicts cannot fight the urge to gamble, and thus give in to their vice repeatedly.

Compulsive gambling can be a very destructive trait, and harms not only the gambler but also his/her loved ones. This article will help you determine if you have a gambling problem, and will then recommend steps to take for treating your addiction and getting on the road to recovery.

Am I Addicted to Gambling?

If you came to this page to find out if you are addicted to gambling, you should answer the questions below as honestly as you possibly can:

  • Are you secretive about your gambling habit?
  • If you are down, can you leave the table? Or do you constantly chase losses?
  • Have you ever gambled with money you couldn't afford to lose?
  • Do your friends and family see your gambling habit as a problem?
  • Do you gamble more than once a week?

If you answered yes to the majority of these questions, you most likely have a gambling problem and should seek help immediately.

Treating a Gambling Addiction

Compulsive gambling is one of the hardest habits to break, but you can cure yourself if you exercise incredible self control and are willing to own up to your addiction. Like in any other addiction, the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. Once you do that, we recommend taking the following steps to help yourself:

Gamblers Anonymous

Gamblers Anonymous is one of the best treatment options available. Gamblers Anonymous utilizes a twelve-step recovery program that is modeled after the program at Alcoholics Anonymous. Each new participant is paired up with a mentor, who is often a recovered gambling addict that is willing to provide guidance and support.

Each of the twelve steps are designed to reduce your dependency on gambling, and to strengthen your will to resist gambling. We can't think of a better option for gambling addicts than Gamblers Anonymous. Find out more about the program at

Other Advice

If you don't believe your problem is serious enough to join Gamblers Anonymous, you should follow the advice below to reduce your risk of developing a serious problem:

Stay Focused

If you don't think about gambling you are less likely to gamble. Make sure your mind is always elsewhere - it is very dangerous to daydream about jackpots and slot machines, because these thoughts make it exponentially easier for you to give in to the gambling addiction.

No Cash

There is no reason for most people to have so many credit cards and so much cash in their wallet, especially if they have a gambling problem. Make sure to leave your credit cards at home, and only carry small amounts of cash. If you don't have money, you can't gamble.

Stay Busy

We recommend picking up a few new hobbies to take the place of your gambling addiction. Start exercising, join a few clubs, and hang out with friends and family more, and soon enough you won't even have enough free time to think about the casino or the track.

Avoid Casinos at all Costs

This seems like a no brainer, but addicted gamblers will make any sort of rationalizations to gamble. For example, if your next business conference is hosted in Vegas, you probably should sit it out. Or, if a friend wants to meet you for lunch at the track, make sure to re-locate the meeting.

Helping a Friend or Family Member

If you are at this page not because you have a problem, but because you believe someone you know has a problem, this section is for you.

Recognizing an Addict

It can be hard to recognize a gambling addict, because often times they are extremely good at hiding their addiction. If you notice any of the following strange behaviors, you may have a compulsive gambler on your hands:

  • Extreme secrecy regarding finances and cash
  • Asking for money, either directly or indirectly
  • Common disappearances with no explanation for his/her whereabouts
  • Extreme mood swings with periods of elation and then depression

If you have noticed any of the behaviors above, we recommend visiting Gam-Anon, which is a Gamblers Anonymous website designed for family members and friends.

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