Gambling Addiction

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Atlantic City After Sandy. Photo Courtesy (Getty Images)

Gambling addiction can be devastating for some players. Although casinos are exciting places, they canĀ  be both fun and addicting. You can put your skills to use and make money at poker or counting cards at blackjack, or learn the rules of other games and play nearly even with the house, but the majority of players visit for entertainment.

The adrenaline rush and experience a high that accompanies the thrill when they risk their money on the games.

For some this feeling can be seductive and alluring and some players succumb to the darker side of gambling, addiction.

Addiction is a compulsive need. What starts as a pleasurable psychological experience turns into an uncontrollable destructive craving. Some people become addicted to alcohol, drugs, sex, food and gambling. When the thrill of the game outweighs everything else, the player has crossed over the line from player to addict. Gambling, like all addictions can be devastating for the person and his family.

Gamblers Anonymous has a list of Twenty Questions for anyone who feels they may have a gambling problem, who can't stay on a gambling budget. We have received permission to reprint them here and urge everyone to take a moment to read through the list of questions.

Twenty Addiction Questions

1.Do you ever lose time from work or school due to gambling?
2.Has gambling ever made your home life unhappy?

3.Does gambling affect your reputation?
4.Have you ever felt remorse after gambling?
5.Do you ever gamble to get money with which to pay debts or solve financial difficulties?
6.Does gambling cause a decrease in your ambition or efficiency?

7.After losing do you feel you must return to win back your losses?

8.After a win did you have a strong urge to return and win more?
9.Do you often gamble until your last dollar was gone?
10.Do you ever borrow to finance your gambling?
11.Have you ever sold anything to finance gambling?
12.Were you reluctant to use "gambling money" for normal expenditures?
13.Does gambling make you careless of the welfare of yourself or your family?
14.Do you ever gamble longer than you had planned?
15.Have you ever gambled to escape worry or trouble?
16.Have you ever committed an illegal act to finance gambling?
17.Does gambling cause you to have difficulty in sleeping?
18.Do arguments, disappointments or frustrations create within you an urge to gamble?
19.Do you ever have an urge to celebrate any good fortune by a few hours of gambling?
20.Have you ever considered self-destruction or suicide as a result of your gambling?

Most compulsive gamblers will answer yes to at least seven of these questions.

If you or someone you love has a problem there are resources available no matter where you live. I have collected some links to resources on the Internet. In the left column on the home page you will see a new subject entitled "Problem Gambling." You will find several links there to organizations that can supply help and information for anyone affected by gambling addiction.

With any type of addiction the addict must admit that they have a problem. Many addicts are in denial of their problem. If you know someone who is addicted to gambling but refuses to help themselves there are organizations that can help you. The About Alcoholism site has many links to resources for families of gambling addicts.

When it becomes more than a game it is time to get help. There are many resources where a player can find help in every state.

Contact Gamblers Anonymous or check for local resources provide on the Problem Gambling Subject page listed in the sidebar.