All addictions can be shrouded in secrecy and this can make it difficult to tell fact from fiction. A gambling addiction is no different; ideas about a gambling problem that are not correct can do more damage than good so read on if you want to know the true facts to best assist your family or friend who is suffering.
It is also important for those with a gambling addiction to know the truth as false beliefs can result in failure to accept that they have a problem. If left untreated a gambling addiction will mess up your life. Getting to grips with the right facts will enable a gambling addict to understand the full extent of their problem.
Fallacy – It is easy to spot an addicted gambler.
Fact – Gambling addiction is often known as the hidden addiction because it has no physical side effects and many gambling addicts are highly skilled in keeping their behaviour a secret. It is often only when signs of mental health detieriation or changes in their personality that those close to them suspect there is a problem.
Fallacy – Compulsive gamblers gamble every day.
Fact – There is no set pattern in the amount a problem gambler will gamble. Some only gamble once or twice a month. It is the fantastic urge to gamble again that is the sign of a gambling addict.
Fallacy – Gambling addicts will bet on anything and will take every change available.
Fact – Most compulsive gamblers only bet on certain types of gambling. They will not just bet on anything but rather those types that offer them the right type of thrill or that they think they have some skill doing.
Fallacy – Only weak people get addicted to gambling.
Fact – Most people will gamble at some point and most will only gamble for entertainment but if they gamble enough there is more of a chance that they will become addicted. Anyone can become addicted no matter their intelligence, occupation, personality or achievements.
Fallacy – Gambling is not a problem if the person can afford it.
Fact – If you are talking about wealth then a rich gambler could afford to lose but what about their relationships with family and friends, not to mention mental and physical health. More money probably means the addicted gambler can gamble for longer but if the problem is not under control time will run out for his partner or spouse, children, parents and anyone else he would not want to lose.
Fallacy – If gambling addicts were better at it they wouldn’t have an issue.
Fact – It is not that gamblers are not very good at it but more that gambling is set up for the gambler to lose.
Fallacy – A compulsive gambler is only damaging his own life.
Fact – Irreparable damage to their families can result if a gambler does not seek help soon enough. Divorce rate is high, domestic violence is common and children of compulsive gamblers are more likely to smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol and take illegal drugs. There is also a high chance that some criminal activity may be undertaken as a result of their problem with gambling.
Fallacy – Compulsive gamblers should get their debts paid off.
Fact – Paying off the debts of a compulsive gambler is a bad idea. They will tell you they will never gamble again but this is not true as they have a compulsion to gamble that they cannot control. You will be throwing good money after bad because it will do nothing but put you in debt. The gambler needs to admit their problem and seek help as soon as possible. Paying off their debts will only drag out the problem.
Fallacy – Could a compulsive gambler learn to gamble in moderation.
Fact – The first high that a gambler experiences lives with them for a long time. It would be practically impossible for a compulsive gambler to gamble moderately when they can only get a high from a really risky bet.
Fallacy – A gambling addiction is easier to stop than other types of addiction
Fact – Relapse for gambling addictions is much higher than for any other type of addiction. It can take up to 2 years of intense therapy before a gambling addict can be said to have a chance of keeping on track. It is really hard to control a gambling habit especially if they have been gambling for many years.