Gambling Addiction Counselors - Counseling in Colorado Springs
Addiction is typically thought to involve the abuse of substances, both legal and illegal. When one thinks of the word "addict", images of crack pipes, dirty syringes, and empty liquor bottles may come to mind. While these substances are all certainly addictive, there are other forms of addiction which don't fit this mold. Gambling addiction, in particular, is one of the most destructive.
Gambling addiction, like any other addiction, is a disorder which involves a compulsive behavior despite negative consequences. In the case of gambling addiction, that behavior is not the consumption of a substance, but rather the act of gambling itself, which acts on the brain's natural reward system in a way similar to that of addictive substances, such as alcohol or cocaine. Gambling, in which something of value is put on the line for the chance to win something even more valuable, leads to a powerful "high" when a gambler wins. It is this feeling of winning which is by itself addictive, and gambling addicts will often burn through their savings, accumulate debt, and even steal in order to chase that feeling.
As gambling addiction doesn't fit the typical mold of what we popularly conceive of addiction to be, it is one of the more misunderstood addictions, although greater awareness has been made in recent years. Despite this, gambling addiction is no less serious than addictions to substances such as opiates and alcohol.
Gambling addiction, much like any other form of addiction, often leads to significant distress among both the gambling addicts and those close to them.
Signs and Symptoms of Gambling Addiction
How do you know if you're addicted to gambling, as opposed to someone who merely enjoys a game of chance? If you display any of these signs, that may be an indication that you have problems with gambling.
- Preoccupied with thoughts of gambling
- Needing to gamble increasing amounts of money to get the same positive feeling
- Being unable to stop gambling when you try to cut back or quit
- Gambling to escape negative thoughts, feelings, or situations
- Feeling irritable when you can't gamble
- "Chasing losses", or trying to win back money lost by gambling
- Lying to loved ones and friends about your gambling
- Stealing or committing fraud in order to gamble
- Continuing to gamble despite negative consequences in your professional, financial, romantic, or personal lives
If you've noticed any of these signs or symptoms, that is a strong indication that your gambling behaviors may be abnormal. If you believe you may have a problem with gambling addiction, it is vital that you seek out help from a trained professional, as gambling addiction can lead to serious and irreversible negative consequences, such as:
- Loss of family, friends, or employment
- Legal troubles or jail-time as a result of theft
- Missed opportunities as a result of excessive gambling
- Feelings of guilt or emptiness
Gambling addiction, like most addictions, is greatly stigmatized and misunderstood by the general public. Gambling addiction in particular, however, carries additional stigma with it, as gambling addicts often steal from loved ones in order to enable their addiction. This, in addition to the fact that gambling addiction isn't seen as being "serious" by some, serves to prevent gambling addicts from seeking the help they need.
If you struggle with gambling addiction, you may feel a great sense of shame or guilt over the things you've done as a result of your addiction. While you can't change the past, you can always change your future-- gambling addiction is not a life sentence, and with treatment, you can stop your behavior and overcome your addiction. At Overcomers Counseling, our highly-qualified staff are prepared to help you recover from gambling addiction in a safe, supportive environment. Through talk therapy, you will learn to understand the roots of your addiction, and find healthy ways of coping.
If you're ready to take the next step on your journey to recovery, send us an e-mail or give us a phone call. We look forward to meeting you. Call 719-345-2424.