Converting a meager amount of money into a colossal one in a matter of minutes is definitely on everybody’s wish list. For that reason, gambling can be fun, and, as long as it doesn’t become an addiction, it IS fun! However, since gambling can take you from the highs to the lows just as fast, responsible gambling is critical, to restrain from making it a (bad) habit.

Whether you bet on roulette, sports, slots, or poker (online or in a casino), problem gambling can even lead to financial catastrophe, straining the player’s relationships and severely interfering with his/her work and health. Problem gamblers often find themselves in situations they could never have imagined, such as stealing money to pay their debts and gamble. Of course, at that point, the problem mainly lies in the fact that they have a hard time admitting they have a gambling problem and get help to regain control of their life.

What is Gambling Addiction and Problem Gambling.
Gambling addiction, also referred to as compulsive gambling, is considered a disorder, where gamblers are utterly unable to control their impulse to gamble, even though they are fully aware that their habit is hurting themselves and most likely their loved ones. People with a gambling addiction cannot think of anything else other than gambling, not minding the consequences, and they gamble even when the odds are against them or cannot afford to lose. Staying out of bet is just impossible. Problem gambling, on the other hand, is a condition where gamblers are not completely out of control but are seriously preoccupied with gambling and bet, spending more and more money and time on it.

Myths about Problem Gambling
Many people think that to be a problem gambler, you have to play every day. If it causes a problem, then gambling IS a problem, even if you don’t gamble frequently. Others believe that if you can afford it, problem gambling is acceptable. NO, it is NOT OK, because you don’t just lose money but also spend significant amounts of time betting, which could lead to loss of important friendships and relationship breakdown. Quick fix solutions help problem gamblers bail out of debt, when it builds up, is the right thing to do. Wrong. It could make things worse because you allow the gambling problems to linger on. Some claim that gamblers become problem gamblers because of their partner’s behaviour. Problem gamblers need to rationalise their behaviour and often blame others. That way, they avoid taking responsibility for their actions.

Aspects of Life that Problem Gambling Affects
1. Relationships and Family Life
Maintaining a normal life when constantly thinking about gambling is extremely difficult. This not only creates stress but also affects your family life and relationships. Increased arguments within the family are very common and, in most cases, compulsive gamblers become divorced or separated as their family cannot handle the problem gambler’s violent outbursts, getting hounded by debt collectors, and money issues. Just because of this preoccupation with gambling, problem gamblers might lose important events, such as birthdays, meals, and other fun family activities. It has also been evidenced that children of problem gambler are underachievers at school, have higher substance abuse rates, and are very likely to develop gambling issues themselves, among others.

2. Finances
Compulsive gamblers may experience big wins over time, but they will certainly experience dramatic losses. These fluctuations in the problem gambler’s finances can result in increased financial difficulties, distinguished by maxed out credit cards, passing bad checks, forced home sales, and increasing debts, to name a few. That aside, to support their habits, compulsive gamblers are more likely to throw themselves in tax evasion, fraudulent loan applications, theft, cheque forgery, insurance fraud, and more.

3. Work
A problem gambler’s productivity diminishes and has a hard time performing well at work (or school or college), because they tend to show up late for work (or skip work days to gamble), take more sick leaves (without being sick), use their office’s Internet to gamble, daydream about gambling, request for pay advances, embezzle, and more.

4. Health
Compulsive gambling is also associated with a broad spectrum of psychological, physical, and emotional health problems, such as:
-Reduced self-esteem.
-Increased stress, ADH (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity), moodiness, anxiety, clinic depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorders.
-Muscular tension, high blood pressure, fatigue, migraines, colitis, stomach ailments, and insomnia.
-Use of drugs or alcohol to handle the desperate situation and guilt.

Responsible gambling is, of course, the only way to avoid such detrimental issues and always have control of your life. If you want to gamble, do so for the right reasons: just for the fun of it.


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