The majority of us find gambling enjoyable and harmless, but for others, it is a destructive activity. While only a few know how to handle the thrill of spending money on gambling, others succumb themselves to the excitement brought by winning. This eventually leads them to the darker side of gambling. What starts to be fun turns into an uncontrollable and destructive craving.

Unfortunately, some of them will not admit that they have problems with gambling. There are people who believe that their attitude towards gambling is normal and that their loved ones are merely overreacting. Others may detect that they are already addicted but choose not to confess it for fear of being confronted.

There are some signs and symptoms which will help us detect that we have a gambling problem.

  1. We lie to others about our gambling and that we enjoy gambling secretly. It is easy to lie about our gambling problems to our families and we‘ll get irritated when being confronted.
  2. We find it hard to control our losses and we continue to gamble even if we don’t have money left for this kind of entertainment. Problematic gamblers believe that they’ll win if they keep on playing. They don’t know that they’re simply piling more losses.
  3. We make our family and friends worried about our gambling activity.
  4. We borrow money without always admitting the real reason of why we need more money.
  5. We enjoy betting more using different techniques.
  6. We become irritated, impatient, and tense if we do not get our dose of gambling.
  7. We turn to misdeeds and crime if borrowing money from family and friends is not enough.
  8. We prioritize gambling over everything.

These signs and symptoms can destroy our life if not addressed immediately. There is a possibility that we will get hopeless and possibly commit suicide due to depression. Support from our loved ones is, therefore, important for this kind of problem. I think it is not a sin to ask help from our family and to tell them our problem. Right?

Any compulsive gambler would definitely agree that quitting gambling is never easy. Of course, there are always some ways to get yourself out of a big hole before you get yourself into a hopeless situation.

Here are some techniques you can follow:

  1. Keep yourself busy on some other things that could make yourself productive at the same time.
  2. Take time to educate yourself about the disadvantages of gambling addiction and the advantages of quitting.
  3. Look for some self-help materials such as books or journals. You may also try joining online forums related to gambling addiction so you can get an inspiration from others. You’ll see that it’s not just you who has the same problem, thus there’s nothing that you need to be shy about.
  4. Come up with a financial plan or get an advice on how you can relieve yourself from financial pressure and debts.
  5. If necessary, you can hand over the control of your money to someone you can trust such as a close family member or friend.
  6. Accept the fact that quitting gambling doesn’t happen overnight. Be patient by taking things one day at a time.
  7. Have faith in yourself and pray hard so you’ll have the strength to fully recover.

As for families who have compulsive gamblers at home, it is important to be tough and not to give in to their compulsive desires. Taking control of the family’s finances and reviewing bank statement are important to prevent financial disasters. Persuading them to attend a self-help group is necessary so they can recover quickly. Moreover, letting them understand the importance of recovery for your whole family is needed so that they will feel special despite their problem.