It is important to note that there is much assistance and support available for people who are concerned about gambling addiction or know someone who may be afflicted. Addiction is a very serious subject, so we provide reference guidance from external experts in the industry.
What is a gambling addiction, and how can I assist someone?
If a person is spending more money than they can afford or spending significant time gambling, it may be time to consult an expert. The Responsible Gambling Council is a trusted Canadian resource you can rely on (RGC). The RGC is an independent, non-profit organization whose services and efforts are dedicated to preventing compulsive gambling.
Early indicators of a gambling addiction
You are concealing and/or lying about your gambling. In all honesty, secrecy is the defining characteristic of every addiction. You’ve given up moderately enjoying it with others and feel driven to participate even though others may be apprehensive. This may be something a person does not want to hear, but it is an early indicator of a gambling issue.
Excessive or obsessive thought
You think about gambling from the minute you awake until you fall asleep. It is constantly there in your consciousness. You experience a “high” from ritualistic planning, scheming, and determining when you may be alone or away from individuals who may catch you in the act and attempt to judge you.
Disloyalty to close friends and family
You shirk obligations, placing gambling above other life concerns like employment or spending time with family. At a moment of temptation, you vow your loyalty to gambling above anything of value.
Without realizing it, you are spending your savings or those of your partners in ways that affect others. Rather than stop gambling, you may attempt to excuse your conduct and refuse to recognize that it’s hurting your family.
You have maxed out your credit cards, which might have a negative impact on your credit score.
What actions may an individual take to aid themselves?
Effective techniques include cooling off periods, negotiating with creditors, creating deposit and withdrawal limits, offering complete financial transparency to your family, restricting deposit cards, closing accounts, etc. Yet, this is superficial if underlying issues are not addressed.
For the gambler, it could help to face the loss that fuels the need to “win.” Working with a therapist specializing in addictions, addressing unprocessed trauma, understanding the roots of low self-worth, and finding ways to raise it is vital for maintaining financial sobriety.
Gamblers Anonymous is an excellent and free way to begin this journey, which is adequate for some. Others find its combination with psychotherapy compelling. Yet, SMART Recovery or a life coach may be more effective for individuals. Each path to recovery is marked by its uniqueness.
Individuals may need trial and error to choose their preferred course, but they must remember that the process is valuable. Finding a balance in one’s life and discovering meaning and enjoyment via artistic pursuits, health and fitness, volunteering, etc., are equally essential. When a habit is abandoned, a void is created. Substitute it with something more upbeat.
Gambling Problems Support System
Responsiblegambling.org is a fantastic starting point for acquiring as much information on the subject as possible. There is a tremendous variety of aid available, whether you need it for yourself or someone else. If you know someone who may be in need of aid, you have access to it.
Responsible Gaming Resources for Canadians
Responsible Gambling Council’s efforts to safeguard Canadians and its helpful tools for gaming in moderation can be found at https://www.responsiblegambling.org/. If a player you know, a friend or a loved one is suffering from gambling problems or addiction, resources are available, including access to professional counselling.
Gamblers Anonymous offers further options to get help for oneself or another gambler, http://www.gamblersanonymous.org/ga/addresses, which has meetings, emails, and phone numbers for Gamblers Anonymous in several Canadian provinces.