Gambling is meant to be a form of entertainment, but it can be taken to the point where it’s no longer fun and becomes a threat to a player’s well being. People who become addicted to gambling are unable to think rationally; they just keep on rolling the dice or pulling the lever in the hopes of winning big.
The ultimate outcome is loss of money and self-respect as the gambler goes to any length to feed his or her addiction. Here are some signs to watch for so that you avoid falling victim to the dark side of gambling. If any of these scenarios apply to you, it’s definitely time to quit playing casino games.
- You cannot stop even if you want to. You feel the need to keep playing whether you are winning (to make the most of a lucky streak) or losing (to make your money back).
- Your entertainment (that is, gambling) budget is consuming all of your income. If you find yourself betting money that should be going to pay the bills or to build up your child’s college fund, you definitely need help. Don’t wait until the bank has repossessed your car or house.
- You lie to family and friends in order to keep gambling. Addicted players feel guilty about their actions and try avoiding criticism from others. If you find yourself hiding how much you play and how much you’re spending, this is a clear indication that your habit is out of control.
- You bet whenever you can. Gamblers soon stop playing for fun and start considering every event or situation as something worthy of a wager. Because they get a kind of high from winning, they start gambling to relieve stress or to avoid other problems in their lives.
- You keep playing no matter how great your losses. Even when they have lost every last penny, gambling addicts will still do anything to feed their habit. Desperation can lead to cheating and stealing, even from family and friends. For some, the downward spiral of gambling can lead to suicide.
If any of these signs seem familiar, please seek help. Your way back from the abyss depends on developing self-control and a positive attitude. Recognize the signs before it is too late.