Hello Recovery Friends and Welcome All,
So what is compulsive addicted gambling the disease? It IS:
Yes, gambling addiction is a real disease. I say it all the time, and I won’t stop saying it until we get this addiction known far and wide. WHY? Because the public has no idea that this addiction claims more lives from SUICIDE than any other addiction.
And currently the rise in mental/emotional disorders from the after effects of years of addicted gambling is now becoming more the norm sitting in meetings and recovery groups. We are seeing a huge rise in people who are addicted gamblers and now suffering from many mental/emotional under lying issues. It’s called being Dual Diagnosed. What is dual diagnosis?
About Dual Diagnosis of Addiction & Mental Illness:
In the field of addictions and mental health, dual diagnosis is a term that describes people who struggle with an addiction and a mental health disorder. It is actually quite common, as substance abuse can often play a large role in mental health.
For example, there may be a person who has a diagnosis of major depression and is also addicted to alcohol. Or someone who has borderline personality disorder may struggle with a gambling addiction. It only makes sense that addictions can affect mental health and the state of your mental health can affect your decisions to engage or abstain from substances like alcohol and drugs.
Dual diagnosis was introduced to the mental health field more than two decades ago, though there is still a misunderstanding among some professionals as to the exact nature of the diagnosis. Currently, the health care system treats the addiction first and then treats the psychiatric issue . . .
“If I did not get tangled in gambling addiction, landed in a Crisis Center after my first suicide attempt, and was diagnosed with bipolar severe depression and mild mania, with PTSD in 2002, I feel I would still be undiagnosed today, and have had more added mental/emotional disorders since I am in long-term recovery which now include PTSD and Agoraphobia. But here are some facts that you may not know about gambling addiction & problem gambling.”
Just the Facts Man:
About Gambling Addiction & Problem Gambling:
Problem gambling is defined as a progressive increase in gambling (both frequency and amount of money) over time and an inability to stop despite negative consequences. The term problem gambler is preferred, because it includes other types – pathological gambler and compulsive gambler. The harm doesn’t have to be entirely borne by the gambler, often it is visited upon loved ones and others.
Gambling addiction starts out as a solution to a problem. The problem may be as simple as boredom or as complex as a feeling of having failed at life. Unfortunately, the temporary escape gambling provides isn’t a very good solution. It creates another set of difficulties, often much worse than the problem it was meant to solve.
One of the symptoms of a gambling addiction is the unwillingness or inability to admit there is any wrong at all. Because of this, the following questions are meant to highlight the common symptoms that indicate addictive behavior.
Questions (Adapted from Gamblers Anonymous and Psychologist, Anywhere, Anytime)
- Has gambling ever caused you to miss work (or school) or been the subject of an argument with a loved one?
- Do you have a reputation as someone who gambles?
- Does gambling occupy your thoughts when you aren’t actively playing?
- Have you had the urge either to win more when you have won or recover from losses by winning back your money?
- Have you ever gambled on credit or borrowed money to gamble?
- Do you gamble to improve your mood or to help overcome problems at home or work?
- Do you believe you can ‘strike it rich’ or change your lifestyle with gambling?
- Do you have a close relative who is/was a problem gambler?
- Are you most comfortable with friends who also gamble and is this the basis for the friendship?
- Have you ever tried to stop gambling but returned?
- Do you feel bad after a session of gambling is over?
- When you gamble, do you keep at it until your money runs out?IF you answer YES to seven of these questions? You have a gambling problem, and addicted gambling is not to far behind. . .
Definition of Problem Gambler
A problem gambler is defined as someone who continues the behavior despite negative consequences in a progressive manner.
How much of a problem gambling becomes depends on how long the addiction continues. Early intervention, before major harm (bankruptcy, divorce, arrest, suicide) occurs is the best choice, but many addicts continue until they can no longer manage the collateral damage and are forced to confront their addiction. It doesn’t have to be that way; there is help available no matter what stage of the addiction you are in.
So if you feel you or someone you love has a gambling problem? Help them get their life back. It’s NOT who they are, it is the disease that is making them sick. No, not an excuse or denial. Compulsive gambling addiction is like all other addictions. Until we deal with the meat of this disease, learn how to break down and interrupt 3 area’s of any type of addiction, which is: the Cycle, the Bad Habits and Bad Behaviors we learn and use to stay within our addition. Those 3 and more need to be addressed in order to be successful in long-term recovery. There is help and it can be done!
I hope this information is helpful to understand a little more about a very Powerful, Cunning, and Baffling Addiction.
It will take work, but it is worth the FIGHT!
How To Begin Recovery:
Even though they can be shown how their habit has shaped and harmed their lives, they can often point to a “big win” as justification. Motivation is critical and many of those in treatment are only there because their spouse, or employer, or a court has insisted on it. Before treatment can help, the gambler has to believe there is a real addiction that requires treatment.
Informal Support Groups
There are two tracks available for treatment and both may be used simultaneously. The first is an informal support group, similar to Alcoholics Anonymous. The twelve-step program in Gamblers Anonymous (GA) is free and gives the addict access to a large support group of peers who understand the problem. The atmosphere is non-judgmental and supportive.
The second track is based on cognitive-behavioral therapy. It seeks to change the way the gambler sees his problem and his situation. Unhealthy beliefs and rationalizations are confronted. Patients are taught techniques to fight urges and deal with stressors (financial and emotional) that lead to compulsive acts. The goal is to change the way gambling is understood by the patient in order to alter behavior.
An advantage of cognitive-behavioral therapy over group support is that it is individualized and can address other life issues that might be acting as triggers. The main disadvantage is cost and the unfortunate mis-labeling of therapy as something appropriate only for the weak or those who have a mental disorder.
Treatment will also attempt to limit the material supports that allow gambling to occur: Money; Time; Venue – these are all required for the activity.
Maintenance is important so that the gambling compulsion doesn’t reemerge. GA is an excellent resource and a way to give back to others. Beyond this, attention must be paid to avoid tempting situations and give up access to funds – at least in the short-term. Cultivating relationships that promote accountability and finding enjoyable interests that replace gambling are also important.
One of the key triggers for this addiction is stress. Problem gamblers are able to get lost in their compulsion and the artificial, stress-and-relief cycle of gambling is a way to escape unmanaged stress in their lives. Stress will arise. Techniques to manage stress have to be learned and practiced . . .
God Bless All,
Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Author & Recovery AdvocateMy Book My Story $1.99 to buy