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October 20, 2013

Gambling Addiction - The Not So Talked About Affliction, There Is A Way Out

Article I wrote about a year ago and forgot about. Gambling Addiction has always been quite a factor in my family and so I decided to post it on my blog.

When most people think of addiction they think about drugs or alcohol, but addiction has many faces and one of those is gambling. Gambling is actually one of the worst addictions, it destroys families, ruins businesses, and hurts society in a big way. You see a funny little thought to think about is in a normal night of a drug addicts life they can spend up to maybe $2000.00 on drugs and that is a whole heck of a lot of drugs and they must be sharing but when your can lose your life savings in a night. In Las Vegas gambling addiction is the number one cause for suicides in that city and most of the United States and the act of killing ones self actually happens in the parking lots of Casino's. The the life of the gambling addict is a dark, empty world where one goes to escape reality and always tries to win the illusive grand prize. The thing is even if they win a jackpot it is not enough, they will not stop. When you take a puff or when you snort or inject a drug you release happy chemicals in your brain that flood your pathways and the most common one is called dopamine. When you press that button on the slot machine or when your waiting for that card to flip over in blackjack to see if you've won your brain is dumping out dopamine just like taking a drug. In this article we will explain the signs of a gambling addict, where and how to get help and make people realize this is a not a character defect or flaw but actually identified as the disease of addiction. There are many ways to get help and over the next paragraphs explain to you how.

Identifying a gambling addict in yourself or others

In this paragraph we will explain to you how to identify a gambling addict in yourself or in others and how to approach the friend, spouse, parent or which ever loved one in the right manner. From here on out I will use the word "subject" to label the addict.
First of all you may know the subject is a full on gambling addict and maybe you have said something to them but they are in complete denial. This is very common because even though they see the thousands of dollars being wasted and college funds going down the drain all they see is the slot machine saying jackpot. To truly get the subject to address your pain you must arrange an intervention - much like the interventions for drugs and alcohol - and have all the subjects loved ones explain how the subject has effected their lives in a negative way. They say every addict directly effects five to seven people in a very negative way and then those people effect others and so on so forth. Once the subject get's past the stage of denial you have the most important step done with, but your a long way away from the end yet. You see addiction comes with lots of let downs, maybe relapses and a lot of trust being destroyed. Basically in the intervention everyone who is enabling this subjects life to continue gambling even by helping them the smallest bit such as driving them around must be discontinued and the subject must know that now it is either time to get help or time to leave my family and loved ones behind. If the subject chooses to take their own way that is not uncommon, just stick to your guns and make sure you do not give them anything and eventually they will beg for help. The addict can never arrest their affliction until they are truly ready so their may be many attempts at getting better and they can fall off the wagon again but once they have identified they are sick people and they are trying to get better, never walk away from the subject. With recovery comes setbacks. In the final paragraph we will go into exact ways in how to treat gambling addiction and how to keep the affliction arrested in long term.

The most popular and effective ways of recovery

This is probably the most important section of the article because it explains how to stay abstinent from gambling and how to make it last long term. First of all like aforementioned the subject must be past denial so then a form of treatment and help is needed just like any other disease. Now a lot of people choose in-patient or out-patient rehab facilities that specialize in gambling programs which is a great way to start. Basically you will be in a center with other addicts including drug and alcoholics but you will be in your own program which is specialized for gambling problems. These programs are actually very effective in getting the subject back on course in their life and can really show them the damage they have done and give them people to talk through who are going through the same affliction as them. When your in these programs you will be taught about aftercare plans especially what to do in your free time after work and weekends, who not to hang out with and just general tricks to help you stay "sober" from gambling.
The main gateway for recovery that will be talked about is the 12-Step program. This is used for all addictions but there is actually a specific group for gamblers called G.A which is Gamblers Anonymous. This is a place where you go and sit down in a room with all other addicts for an hour or two and have coffee and just go around talking about your life and is really a great experience. You can meet good friends here and if you stick to the people who have stopped gambling and never went back your in good shape.

Thanks for reading one of my older articles that I forgot to upload. There is hope for the gambler, they just have to be willing. Thank you for reading this short article.