Place a bet – you might make a big score. The allure of making a quick buck is powerful. What if that quarter you drop in the slot returns millions? You start with a quarter, it becomes a dollar than hundreds – but never anything big. You may be on the road to a gambling addiction.
You can win five or ten dollars and then decide to but more tickets. As soon as the gambling urge takes hold. it is not a far cry from buying a lotto ticket to heading toward a casino for some real action.
With so many online gambling sites, it’s easy for anyone to gamble even those who are underage, and teenage gambling addiction is growing. The sites say you have to be over 18 or 21, but who’s checking the IDs?
Teens are three times more likely to get addicted to gambling than adults. Some rack up thousands of dollars in gambling debt before they’re even old enough to get a driver’s license!
A gambling addiction can easily be hidden because there are no obvious physical effects. When the addiction gets larger, gambling can take over many aspects of your life.
Up to 4% of Americans have a gambling addiction. If the thrill of the hunt is the hook for you, and risking cash to win big is the lure, you’re an action gambler. But if you’re more likely to gamble when you’re upset or in some type of life crisis, then you’re an escapist gambler. Men usually gamble for the ‘action’ and women usually gamble as an escape.
If you realize that you’re driven to gamble and it’s taking over your life, then you need to get help. You cannot beat this by yourself. An addiction to gambling really is as powerful as drugs or alcohol. Here are some tips to help you break the addiction to gambling:
1. Tell your spouse, significant other, parent or someone close to you. Ask for their support as you confront your problem.
2. Reduce your access to money. Get rid of access to easy credit, throw out your credit and debit cards. Carry only small amounts of cash in your wallet.
3. Change your path. Stay away from places that are triggers to gamble.
4. Stay away from people who encourage you to gamble. If necessary, change your cell phone number or email address so that they can’t contact you.
Contact the nearest Gambler’s Anonymous group. Your family can attend this group with you so they know what is coming. And find an experienced counselor who can work one-on-one with you.
By Bill Urell
Pick up your Free Addiction Recovery Help Guide, Over 100 pages of self help and recovery tips, resources and links to enhance your life. Bill Urell MA.CAAP-II, is an addictions therapist at a leading residential treatment center. Visit our growing community at: http://www.AddictionRecoveryBasics.com