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Discussing online gambling addiction is a very sensitive subject. Statistics say that at least 6% of the national population will experience some type of gambling addiction in their lifetimes.

It is undoubtedly due to the increasing number of opportunities and avenues available for gambling that this addiction will increase.

What is the definition of gambling? It is the placing at risk an object of value such as money that a certain event will or will not occur in return for something of even greater value than the amount risked.

The most coomon form of gambling is sportsbetting where we place money on a team winning but it does not have to be money.

You would have seen movies where poker players gamble their horses and their wives even! It is worth noting that with the huge established casinos the odds will always be in favor of the casino on all games so they cannot lose no matter what happens.

The Problem Gambler

Gambling can become addictive and as a result we have today what we call problem gamblers. People whose addiction have caused countless problems and disruptions to their own lives and those of their loved ones.

Some of the outward signs of a compulsive gambler when at at the tables is one who is consistently losing whilst chasing money already lost, no sense of control, always in denial about their habit, untrustworthy, a liar and full of deception. All these lead to loss of family , carreer, creation of insurmountable debt and culminates in illegal activity.

They seem to justify their actions that it is their monies and they are free to do whatever they want with it. Not so! they have a responsibility to their families their employer, co workers and to society as a whole. Clearly their actions affects many lives negatively.

People like these need to be conviced to see a gambling therapist. The damage they cause to their family lives are truly immense.

Clearly it would be folly to accept the problem gamblers definition of gambling addiction. Such a definition would be to far removed from the reality and will only serve to satisy his or her desire to contine along the same road.

Therefore the definition of problem gambling should only be ascertained by the actions or non actions of these addicts for let's face it, this is what they are. They affect others full stop!

We must never be convinced by their sometimes well enunciated and compelling arguments as to what constitutes problem gambling. At no time has the saying "actions speak louder than words" a truer statement than when applied to addictive gamblers. We must let their behaviour shape the definition of problem gambling.

The Problem Gambler Behaviour Pattern

Now that you are aware of the definition of problem gambling and the characteristics of a gambling addict do you recognise such behaviour in anyone you know? Think and see if you can identify such persons. Obviously they will not be as easily recognisable as an alcoholic but the signs can clearly be recognised with awareness. Such persons are unable to exercise nay kind of self regulation.

They almost never realise or accept that they have a serious problem and it is affecting their family but you may know their family members who are being affected and can bring it to the attention of this addict. Do not be fooled by their justifications for their actions, recognise thTje patterns of behaviour they display.

The addictive gambler is probably slowly on his or her way to full bankruptcy, they never win you see, that's the system. They are always borrowing, consolidating and and on the periphery of illegal activity.

But where does the money to gamble come from? Salary, savings, credit cards are the biggest culprit here, they simply acquire more and more cards and max them out. Then they borrow from freinds, family members, the financial institutions and money lenders. Then they steal! From their workplace and from their spouses. They will also beg and pawn their house possessions like the family jewelry and appliances etc.

Their minds are lterally filled with thoughts of that next set of cards or getting 3 cherries or whatever their addiction is based on. Gambling occupies their every waking moment and if we could verify it would even be their sleeping moments as well.

Thoughts of where to get money from for the next session, how to get there unless of course they are playing online. How can they cut other types of costs like accomodation, they might move to a cheaper place and so on.

The picture being painted here makes it seem like gambling is all evil. Certainly not! - for the majority of us it is a wonderful passtime and hobby. Because we exhibit self control. The problem gambler does not exhibit any such tendencies for him gambling is his life's ambition and goal. It's the reason for living, his nirvana.

The most glaring and incredible sign of the chronic gambler is watching the slow but sure loss of self control. A partial observer can actually see this behaviour build up over time and it's amazing to see the decline and the difficulty in not recognising it or putting a halt to it. This growing desire to gamble is matched in intensity with the growing loss of self control and it can literally change a person completely for the worse.

Strangley, not even the problem gambler himself will recognise or believe some of their actions when told of it later. Their family members will be in shock that the person they once know and was such a loving, kind and giving person could have changed into such a horrible, mean and downright nasty human being.

Unfortunately the reality is that a problem gambler is really a very untrustworthy person. This is because this addiction creates such a deeply embedded behaviour pattern of lies and decption that it is almost impossible to get rid of it totally.

It almost becomes part of the person's DNA thereafter. Not even after they might have seemingly recovered can this ex problem gamber be trusted.

The reason for this seems to be that for such a long period of time during the addictive phase life's priorities were upstaged by the need to gamble and so caring for one's spouse or putting aside funds for the kids education or a long vacation in the Carribbean are no longer important or even thought of anymore. All trust is destroyed and that we know can never ever come back.

The stress caused by the problem gambler's actions will inadvertently cause the same in affected family members leading to long term health problems and its attendant costs.

Even if the person says and does nice things in an effort to prove that he or she is back, it may just be a smokescreen to quickly get back to the tables. This of course requires money. Monitor the sources of monies and you will get your answers.

Remember you may feel you are being kind when you loan or give money to a problem gambler and that it will help him overcome his problem when he loses it, it does not, it simply exacerbates the addiction even more.

Problem Gambler Recovery

We have to be hopeful and believe that recovering from a gambling addiction is possible. It has happened before and it can
happen again. The key though is unstinting support and help from the problem gambler's closest family and friends. There is no way they can manage it on their own, they will not have the willpower.

To be noted also is that like any othey type of addiction what works for on eperson may not owrk for another. It all depends on how deep the addiction is and particularly the circumstances which led to it in the first place.

There are several types of treatments for gambling addiction and they all involve a combination of group therapy and professional individual counselling sessions. There are also group sessions for the family members most affected by the addicts actions and also sessions on money management techinques moving foward.

Your family doctor or one of the gambling hotlines can refer you to one of the several gambling addiction programmes available. The success rate has been mixed with an abstinence rate from 8% to 55% within 12 months of being in the program. Refer someone you know now.

 
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Sarah Harrigan has been involved as a player and researcher on online casinos and online gambling since 1996. She has created this site as a safe haven for all gamblers, new and old. With over 2500 online casinos to choose from, the majority being unreputable she felt compelled to use her experience as a player to give back in terms of online gambling tips and strategies. Because of her research background you will find her reviews very honest and refreshing and we hope you will find this site very useful.
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