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!
Gambling is a hidden addiction because it’s more likely to be done in secret than on a night out to a casino with friends. As the addiction increases, gambling interferes with work, social, mental and physical aspects of your life.
Up to 4% of Americans have a gambling addiction. If you find that you crave the thrill of risking money and hoping to win big, then 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. Women are more likely to be escapist gamblers while men are usually action gamblers.
If you realize that you’re driven to gamble and it’s taking over your life, then you need to get help. You can’t beat this on your own. 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. Cut up 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.