It might be said that what you don’t know can’t hurt you but there are times when it can be really bad for you. Ignoring something when it could be a potentially serious issue is not a great idea. This is why it is important to know the signs of problem gambling as you or a loved one could be suffering.
There are many mistruths about a gambling addiction and it is time that the truth was ousted in order for us to keep ourselves and loved ones safe from a possible nightmare of a problem.
False – If you have a gambling problem you gamble every day
Gambling addiction is not measured by the amount of times they gamble in a day, week or year but by the devastating effect it has had on their lives and the lives of those around them.
Below is a list of some of the diagnostic criteria from the American Psychiatric Association:
- All the person thinks about is gambling
- Bets are made at higher levels to keep getting the high
- The person can be distressed when cutting down on gambling
- Gambling is their escape
- Losses are chased
- Lies and secrecy become a way of life
- Relationships are put in the background
- They always need financial help
- Failure to control their gambling
This is based on the consequences of the gambler’s life not on the frequency of their gambling.
False – Gambling is nothing to talk to your children about
Children are exposed to gambling. Many people do not realise that betting on the school football team, playing cards at school, getting a lottery ticket or selling raffle tickets for the school fete are all forms of gambling. Children are exposed to gambling, the internet and television are a minefield of advertising for gambling. It is important to take time out to talk to your child about gambling and the problems associated with it. We talk about safe sex, dangers of drugs and alcohol, stranger danger and many other important things so why not gambling and the consequences it can bring.
False – Gambling is not the same type of addiction as drugs or alcohol, they can stop at any time
Lots of people gamble for the fun of it and for many it is a social activity like betting at a sporting event you are at, playing cards with friends and a trip to a casino. Those with a gambling addiction it is a compulsion that, just like drinking alcohol or taking drugs they can’t stop. Untreated a gambling addiction can become as bad as an alcoholic or drug addict with dangerous problems. No physical symptoms just mean that you can’t see if a person is an addict but it is still as dangerous.
False – Only wealthy adults with loads of time off can gamble
A gambling addiction is something that can affect anyone no matter what their gender, age, religion, race or creed and there is no income level low enough not to be included. Gambling when you are not aware of the risks is a dangerous business.
False – Addicted gamblers are always obvious to people who don’t live with them
A gambling addiction is often referred to as the hidden addiction. There are no physical signs and with the help of new smart phone technology no one needs to find out. Although the side effects are hard to spot, it is serious and problem gamblers can lose everything.
False – Gambling addicts can’t be treated
Gambling addicts can be treated and so it is important to find the best place near you to admit the addiction to.