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When gambling might be a problem

February 1, 2018

About the Author

photo of Howard J. Shaffer, PhD, CAS

Howard J. Shaffer, PhD, CAS, Contributor

Dr. Howard Jeffrey Shaffer is the Morris E. Chafetz Associate Professor of Psychiatry in the Field of Behavioral Sciences at Harvard Medical School; in addition, he is the Director of the Division on Addiction at the … See Full Bio
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March 23, 2018

My name is David Gust,LAADC, NCAC II, CADC II and I have been a addictions counselor for over 40 years. As I’m reading this article to a client who has an addiction to day trading and almost said you might need to take a stock,… you might consider using an alternative word than “stock” in the first sentence of the last paragraph of this piece due to the percentage of people with gambling addictions and more specifically, day trading addictions who buy “stock” as a result of their addiction.
When one is asked if they have a gambling problem by seeing if they have one of the three criteria, you listed and if so “to ……you should evaluate your gambling and how it fits into your life. I would recommend that if one does indeed have one of the three criteria to seek professional help to access if they indeed do have a problem or addiction. Thank you for your contributions -David Gust, LAADC, NCAC II, CADC II

February 10, 2018

I wonder how many gamblers acknowledge that they have a problem and seek help? In my experience, the gambler blames someone else, either for over-reacting to ‘a very common social pastime’ or for ‘trying to control then.’ The lying and other deceptions were not his fault; it was simply how he had to deal with an unreasonable person. If the gambler is stuck in that mindset, is there anything we can do?

February 7, 2018

I am a Mental Health therapist and Certified Disordered Gambling Counselor. If you have an issue with gambling or a family member does I urge you to check out your States resources. In Nebraska the Comission no Problem Gambling offers FREE assessment and counseling for disordered gambling as well as many other states. You do not have to do this alone.

Suresh Bhave
February 6, 2018

Addiction to gambling results from the thrill an incorrigible gambler gets from gambling. One of my juniors at work was addicted to cards. He described most graphically the thrill he felt when picking up the cards dealt to him- the goosebumps and the holding of breath. His hand shook when he touched the cards in anticipation of the glee or the despondency that the revelation of the cards would cause him. The pay-back from this addicion is the thrill. The fear of loss and financial ruin or a win and a windfall gain do not deter or motivate such a gambler. All that matters is the thrill. That is just like a smoker who is not deterred by the horrible consequences of smoking.

A. Watson
February 4, 2018

I would like to share an article to answer your question. The article is found at:
This is an excerpt from the article:
Gambling is a drug-free addiction. Yet despite the fact that there is no external chemical at work on the brain, the neurological and physiological reactions to the stimulus are similar to those of drug or alcohol addicts. Some gambling addicts report that they experience a high resembling that produced by a powerful drug. Like drug addicts, they develop a tolerance, and when they cannot gamble, they show signs of withdrawal such as panic attacks, anxiety, insomnia, headaches, and heart palpitations.
My comment: The sooner a person finds help, the better. It is a progressive addiction that gets harder to control as time passes.

Andrew Toner
February 2, 2018

Some people can gamble in a normal way, however I am not one of those people.

I always had an interest in money & once I began gambling at an early age I quickly began spending more than I should, missing out on things so I could gamble.

This was just the beginning as my gambling progressive got worse, I was destroying my relationship, my whole character was changing, lying, cheating, stealing.

There more I gambled the more secretive I became, I found it easier to consider the complete destruction of my whole life rather than getting proper help for my addiction.

Thankfully after being caught out by my wife for about the 15 time, she eventually gave me an ultimatum, however by this point my life was a mess & I was desperate to get out of the endless cycle of poverty, worry & gambling.

I joined gamblers anonymous in Glasgow, Scotland on 18 March 2014 & despite a lot of difficulties personally I have not gambled since.

The support I have received has been overwhelming & I have managed to change my whole life around, I am now on the verge of being debt free, I socialise, I have time for my family & most importantly I give back to my wife who endured a lot during my worst.

I also give back to gamblers anonymous and will continue to go as that is what keeps me in a good productive place.

Life doesn’t need to be like how it seems forever, be brave, get help it will be the best thing you ever do.

God Grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things i can & the wisdom to know the difference.

Kale Jennings
February 1, 2018

This is a really interesting piece. Do you believe any kind of gambling can lead to financial troubles and lead to serious problems in the future? I tried this for more information on gambling but there hasn’t seemed to be new data on the subject.

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