A lot of people consider gambling as just a way to have fun while enjoying your favorite sport or winning that poker game. A few other actually see it as a means to an end. The rise in the number of people who hope to hit jackpot shows there’s also an increase in those who are getting addicted. According to a report by the UK’s Gambling Commission, there are over 2 million gambling addicts in the UK. Another survey showed that there’s been a shocking 10% increase in the number of addicts from 2016 to 2017. At this rate, it shows that a lot of people might come to financial and emotional ruin if the problem isn’t tackled.
Gambling addiction comes with the inability to control your need to get more frequently, restlessness that comes with non-availability of a gaming machine, aggressiveness and lots more. The negative consequences outweigh the positive, hence the need to quit as soon as you notice a sign of addiction. But what are these signs? – you may ask. Here’s how to know you’re becoming a gambling addict.
1. You find it Hard to Stop
People who gamble for the fun of it know when to call it a day once they reach a certain limit. But when you start finding it difficult to put a limit on the money and time spent betting, it’s a sign that you are getting addicted to the habit. By the time you realise your lack of control, you have lost a huge chunk of your savings and your finances starts getting affected too. Your savings contains money you shouldn’t lose by any means. These monies are meant to take care of school fees, mortgage, food, utility bills and so on. Fun gamblers use “fun” or “entertainment” money for gaming but someone who’s getting addicted will make use of any cash they can lay their hands on. When it gets to that or even the extent of borrowing to wager, you are getting addicted.
2. When you start Gambling more to Recover what you Lost
Once gambling goes from recreation to addiction, you will start looking for ways to make up the amount you lost when you initially began. In a quest to recover, you end up throwing away good money which is likely to not to be gotten back as well. This heightens your anxiety, then you start placing more bets to get back this good money. The cycle goes on and on, till you’re almost bankrupt.
3. When you start Borrowing to Gamble
When you have gambled away all the monies you have worked for, you start going to the extreme to see if you can get more money to stake. Some gambling addicts resort to crimes like forgery and theft to be able to keep up with the addiction. Others who still have morals, borrow from friends and family just to see if they can win this time. This ends up creating a negative impact on their relationship with people close to them.
4. It affects your Emotions and Relationships
When you have spent all you have to feed the gambling addiction, you are likely to place the habit above other activities and people in your life. You would rather go to a bingo game shop than go watch your son’s first soccer game. You would spend more time staking for odds online than keeping up with your partner. As it affects your relationships, your career isn’t left out either.
By the time the addiction has eaten deep, you begin to feel sad and remorseful. The happiness that comes from hoping you could win, becomes a reduced feel of being ambitious. At this moment, depression is likely to set in and suicidal thoughts start to creep in gradually.
According to Statista, the age range 35-44 has the highest percentage of gambling addicts in the UK – a startling 21.6%. While 16-24 year olds made up the fastest rising group of addicts – at over 15% (from 9.5% in 2016). The increase in the number of the elderly who have gambling problems is also proof that they are either throwing their retirement savings away or hoping to make something for retirement.
Whatever the case, the first thing to do when you notice any of these signs in your life or that of your loved one is to seek professional help. With professional advice and determination, you can embark on steps to help you recover from gambling addiction.