Gambling is an addiction which gets talked about less than other problems but is no less dangerous or damaging to an individual. Financially, it can be devastating. Along with the addiction will be a cycle of lies, half-truths and deliberate attempts to hide the reality of what is going on from the people who care most. Admitting there is a problem is the first step in the road to recovery, but it is not easy.
There are key signs to look for to know if an individual is struggling with an addiction to gambling. Some of the following may have been going on for awhile but are telltale signs a person needs help.
Denial – an individual denies there is a gambling problem in spite of evidence which suggests otherwise. When a person is already deep into an addiction, the patterns of behavior become consistent and predictable. Gambling becomes the primary goal with all else being secondary. Denial is a way of coping with the situation by not having to face consequences of the actions which take place as a result (legal, social, financial).
Not being able to stop – a person with an addiction cannot admit to themselves there is a problem. Lies begin to mount, including one to themselves which includes the ability to stop whenever he or she desires. This may include a short respite from gambling but it will quickly resume once the addiction becomes overwhelming and takes over again.
Destructive nature goes unnoticed – most addicts believe the addiction is not hurting anyone, including themselves. Compulsive gambling is no different in that it is a disease which affects an individual, family, work, and others who come into contact with the person. What happens to one impacts everyone. The physical, psychological, legal and financial damage caused by a gambling addiction have ripple effects including bankruptcy, criminal charges (theft, fraud, violence, DUIs) and loss of income, to name a few. Without treatment, compulsive gambling is a downward spiral which can leave a trail of devastation.
The power of addiction is based on lies a person tells others about what is truly happening. A compulsive gambler will tell people what they want to hear, lie about little things and big things and promise never to do it again. It requires determination and insight to recognize gambling is not an issue which will go away on its own, help is required. Confronting the reality of an addiction is difficult, but the losses are greater when it goes unnoticed and untreated. Admitting there is a problem is the first step in getting help and turning things around. It is possible to move beyond a gambling addiction but it takes the first step to get started towards recovery and put gambling behavior in the past, where it belongs.
Lead Recovery is committed to the health and recovery of every one of our patients. For more information about our addiction recovery services, contact our front desk at 800-380-0012.