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Guide To Gambling Addiction

Casino games can be thrilling, mesmerizing, and downright captivating. Yet for some that's where the trouble begins. While the vast majority of players enjoy games as harmless entertainment, not everyone can handle the allure and temptation. Just like other usually benign pastimes like drinking, gambling does have a dark side. For a small percentage of players, casinos can be clinically addictive.

Knowing the signs of addiction can not only help you spot a problem before it gets out of control, but it really puts things in perspective. Read on and get familiar with the most common signs of a gambling addiction.

Throwing Good Money After Bad

Do you believe that you can win back any money that you've lost? Are you willing to keep raising the stakes until you finally hit that winning streak, no matter how long it takes? Gamblers regularly chase their losses and only end up losing more cash. Going beyond your set entertainment budget could be an indicator of addiction.

Lying To Cover Up Your Gambling

Compulsive gamblers are often embarrassed by their habit. They either know it's wrong or don’t want to be judged for what they believe is harmless fun. Yet if you find yourself trying to cover up your tracks, you might want to ask yourself why.

Feeling Anxious Or Depressed Due To Gambling

For some people gambling can lead to severe mental health challenges. It can take over your life and leave you unable to cope with day to day realities. If thinking about playing or the possibility of not playing makes you sad, confused, or nervous, you’ll want to seek help.

Abandoning Your Family Or Work Obligations To Gamble

Gambling can change your priorities for the worse. If you find yourself cancelling plans, not honoring commitments, or making excuses just to gamble, you might be addicted.

Believing Gambling Is The Most Important Thing In Life

Problem gamblers love talking about their biggest wins, losses, and systems to anyone who will listen. They usually won’t stop talking or thinking about gambling even if the other parties are completely disinterested.

Inability To Stop Playing

Many addicts can’t physically stop gambling even if they know it's time to give it a rest. They may repeatedly negotiate with themselves to play just one more hand, only to find themselves playing for a few more hours.

Gambling To Escape Your Problems

Being addicted isn’t just about spending money. If you regularly use gambling to avoid dealing with the pitfalls of life, you may need help.

Wagering More Money Than You Can Afford To Lose

Although gambling addictions aren’t always about money, playing beyond your means may indicate that you have issues. Playing responsibly is the best way to avoid problems and that includes not spending too much of your free time at the tables.

Stealing Money To Gamble

Many addictions like drug use can cause people to abandon their morals. They’ll steal, cheat, and lie to feed their addiction. Since gambling can be costly, addicts need money to fuel the fire and they don’t always care where they get it.

Selling Your Valuable Possessions Or Borrowing Money To Gamble

Stealing isn’t the only way gamblers find cash. Although getting money to gamble by selling your stuff or borrowing isn’t unethical like stealing, it usually indicates a lack of priorities at minimum. More likely it's a sign of a full-on gambling problem.

Repeatedly Raising The Stakes To Get A Rush

Just like a heavy drinker needs to drink more to get drunk, problem gamblers need to wager more to feel the same level of excitement. If you find yourself upping the ante to previously unfathomable heights, it's time to get help.

Staying In Control

It's worth educating yourself before you play. Even if you are a disciplined gambler who plays strictly for fun, you’ll want to have these resources handy. Don’t be afraid to offer a helping hand if you suspect any of your friends, family, or coworkers may have a gambling problem.

Here are some great resources that feature more information, treatment options, and toll-free hotlines:

National Council On Problem Gambling http://www.ncpgambling.org/

Council On Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey http://800gambler.org/

Gamblers Anonymous http://www.gamblersanonymous.org/ga/