Spectator sports are exciting in their very nature. Bookmakers can ramp up the delight even further by offering to let you profit from your passion. Naturally, sports betting may seem tempting, and to some, absolutely irresistible. Its addictive nature likens it to all other forms of gambling.
Whether you are keen on slot machines, online poker, or wager on your favorite team’s success – you may go from a fun pastime to habit to compulsive betting (i.e., addiction). When left untreated, compulsive gambling breaks families and wrecks lives. In addition to bringing financial loss and debt, it destroys human relationships, isolating the player in his own world focused on the momentary pleasure of placing another bet.
How to identify unhealthy betting
Unlike a healthy better, a player with an addiction disorder is able neither to stop when they lose nor to set a loss limit. Compulsion will drive you to continue playing incessantly in the hope of recovering the lost money. As the pattern sets in, it gets increasingly detrimental. If you feel you may have a problem, read through the following list of red flags. Typical symptoms include these:
- You feel preoccupied with betting – for example, you are constantly thinking of ways to acquire more money for the activity.
- To experience the same high, you need to bet increasingly large sums of money.
- You fail to control, cut back or give up betting.
- You feel irritable and restless when betting is limited.
- You resort to betting as a way to escape problems or relieve negative feelings (e.g., anxiety or stress).
- You try to return the lost money by making higher wagers (this is called chasing losses).
- You lie to your close ones about the true extent of your betting.
- Your relationships, job, or studies are negatively affected by betting.
- You commit theft or fraud to obtain money for betting purposes.
- You ask other people to help you out of financial trouble because you have gambled all your money away.
Fortunately, there are ways to break the vicious circle of addiction. The first step should be to apply to a specialized and credible addiction treatment center. There, professional staff will provide guidance and support. Here are the possible types of treatment:
- Medication. In cases of serious compulsive behavior, medication is a necessary element.
- Therapy. You will reconsider the value of sports betting and your motives for engaging in it.
- Support groups. Like Alcoholics Anonymous, special communities like Gamblers Anonymous may implement a 12-step program to help you cope.
Addiction is a serious problem that must be deal with. Do not let it ruin your life. Once you spot signs of compulsion, ask for professional help.