Addiction – When Gambling Becomes a Problem

While most people enjoy casino gambling, sports betting, lottery and bingo playing for the fun and excitement it provides, others may experience gambling as an addictive and distractive habit. Statistics show that while 85 percent of the adult population in the US enjoys some type of gambling every year, between 2 and 3 percent of will develop a gambling problem and 1 percent of them are diagnosed as pathological gamblers.

Where can you draw the line between harmless gambling to problem gambling? How can you tell if you or your friend are compulsive gamblers? Here you can find answers to these questions and other questions regarding problem gambling and gambling addiction.

What is the Meaning of Problem Gambling?

Problem gambling or compulsive gambling is defined as an uncontrollable urge to gamble despite the destructive effect of gambling on the gamblers life and despite feelings of guilt and remorse. Problem gambling tends to have a negative effect on the gamblers financial state, relationships and daily life. Severe cases of problem gambling can be defined as pathological gambling.

Am I a Compulsive Gambler?

1) Do you gamble until your last penny runs out?

2) Do you gamble to win back your former losses or debts?

3) Did you ever had to borrow money to continue gamble?

4) Did your gambling habit ever made you lie to your friends or family?

5) Did you ever skip work or other obligation to gamble?

6) Do you tend to gamble to forget about your personal problems or to celebrate happy occasions?

7) Does gambling have a negative affect on your daily life or relationships?

If you have answered yes on at least one of the questions listed above, then you have a problem.

Can Anyone Become a Compulsive Gambler?

Theoretically, yes. Any gambler can develop gambling problem regardless to the type of gambling he is occupied with, the amount of money and time he is spending on gambling. Researches show that slot machines that can be found in bars and convenient stores are the most addictive type of gambling activity, while lottery draws and bingo games are located on the other end of the scale. Gambling addiction is an emotional problem; its symptoms, causes and treatments are similar to any other form of addiction.

How Can I treat Gambling Addiction?

1) Group Therapy:

Gamblers Anonymous offers a 12 step self help program similar to the one offered to alcohol addicts in Alcoholics Anonymous. Group therapy also offers gambling addicts advice and support from professional counselors and other gambling addicts in different phases of their recovery process. Gambler Anonymous centers are available in more than 1,200 locations statewide.

2) Individual Therapy:

Cognitive or behavior therapy can help gambling addicts to identify their unaware thinking and acting patterns, which led them to gamble compulsively, and to replace them with controllable and healthier ways of thinking.

3) Psychiatric Medication:

It has recently been proven that antidepressant medications from the family of SSRIs, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors can be affective in treatment of gambling addicts.

Read Through Several Video Game Reviews To Pick The Best One

Are you afraid of getting your kid into the wrong influence of video games? Are you thinking of buying a new game and don’t want to waste your time and money on the wrong one? Video game reviews will help you to understand the pros and cons of them, before buying for yourself or allowing your kids to play on it.

Video games are electronic games that can produce visual feedback on screen and monitors with the help of the user interface. They are available for all types of gamers, from middle-aged parents to teenagers, to the kids in your home. The different genres of games, like shooting, educational, role play games, etc. can give a different experience to the gamers.

Video games with extra violence, sexual part or abusive languages can be a bad influence on the gamer. It is always important to select the one with appropriate contents and that is beneficial for you. If the gamer is your kid, then it is your responsibility to give them a good one.

At this point in time, there are many types of video games, both good and bad available at the market. To choose the right one, it is better to look out for the reviews and ratings they have got. First of all, you should decide on the game you want to download or buy and then search for the reviews on the internet.

There are ratings given by the Entertainment Software Rating Board for a video game, which can be less accurate at times. But for initial researches they can give you the knowledge, whether the game is good for children, or whether they have violence or abusive languages in them, etc.

Different rating codes are: E for everyone; T for teen (age 13+); M for mature (age 17+); RP for rating pending; AO for adults only (age 18+); EC for early childhood (age 3+). These letters can be found on the box of the video game and a brief description of the contents can be found at the back side.

Once you have selected the game of your favourite genre according to the rating, then it is the best time to read real-time reviews on it. As the rating may sometimes fool you a bit, these reviews from those who have already experienced the game can give you an exact idea of the video game.

These reviews help you to decide whether it is appropriate for your younger ones or whether it is the right one for you as well. Some websites may also include expert gamer reviews; commenting about the technical facts like graphics quality, lags, etc. of the game.

At times, you will also come across reviewers who give good or bad ratings for fun or for their own benefits. So it is always advisable to do your own researches and ask your gaming friends for suggestions.

Nostalgia in Games

Nostalgia. The word brings to mind a joyous familiarity felt when engaging in something in the present that we really enjoyed doing in the past. Gaming is no different. Everyone has games that bring back memories from, what we think of now as, better times. Hindsight is a like the snob that points out what you could have done, hindsight tells us our childhood may not have been as bad as we thought. As adults we know how the world works. When we were growing up, we never really had a grip on the world. Hindsight tells us that those times were better, safer, less complicated. Games that bring on nostalgia puts us in the mindset of a kid again. It makes us feel safe, secure, and protected. Humans have a natural tendency to want safety and protection. Especially the adults, because as adults we know just how quickly the world can go from OK one day, to horrible the next. As gamers we seek safety and security in games.

I started gaming when I was very young as most gamers my age did. I grew up playing Super Nintendo and Nintendo 64 with my mom and sister. Super Mario, Kirby, and Mario Cart were a few of the titles that we played. Zelda was perhaps the biggest game we played. My mom has problems with fast-moving games like Call of Duty and other highly graphic games. So we played Super Nintendo and what a time it was! Zelda on the Super Nintendo we beat many times. I say “we” but it was my mom playing not me or my sister. Even thinking about it while writing this I’m getting nostalgia. We kept getting close to the end and then the game wiping our save out so we started over like three times. It was good times. That was when I was around six or seven or eight. Long time ago. Nostalgia gives us hope for the future. It tells us that if good times happened in the past then more good times will happen in the future.

Later I started gaming on my own. It is hard to think about what game came next in chronological order but they all had a theme: single-player strategy. A broad gaming description that can fit a lot of games in it. Games like Pharaoh and Cleopatra, Age of Empires II, and of course Sid Meier’s Civilization III. I was not allowed to play shooters as they had bad language in them and so was restricted to single player games. My parents were very protective and games were not as prevalent twenty years ago as they are now. Pharaoh is a city builder placing you in ancient Egypt. The goal of the game was the build great cities using the resources at your disposal and it was quite a challenge for an eleven year old. Age of Empires II is a real-time strategy game that is completely different from pharaoh. You have to balance resource collection and troop production to take down either AI or other players. Civ III was probably my favorite game growing up. To this day, I still play pharaoh and age of empires II.

Think about what nostalgia is again for just a second. It is a feeling coming from a memory. A memory of “better times” that may or may not be accurate. Games we played a long time ago, that brings back those memories, might not continue to be fun. Civ III I played for hundreds of hours when I was younger is not as fun now that I am older so I do not play it as much now. Sometimes nostalgia lies.

In conclusion, nostalgia in games is a good thing. It allows us to relive parts of our childhood that we otherwise would not have a reason to bring back up from the depths of our minds. Many people say that video games lead to anti-social behavior, violence, and a drop in school grades. Video games teach us how the world is. When you are playing multiplayer of any game you will usually find people who are just toxic. It prepares for dealing with the worst society has to throw at us. Human beings are prone to violence. The first murder happened when Cain killed Abel back in Genesis. I am pretty sure at they did not have video games back then. So this point is always going to be moot. The only point that actually makes sense is the drop in school grades. It takes a great deal of discipline to do school work over video games. It builds character this discipline. So next time you feel nostalgia coming on, take some time to stop and smell the memories. Bask in the thoughts of better times and the hope that good times are still ahead, no matter what the world tells you in the present. This is what video game nostalgia teaches us.

Online Games: A Bittersweet Treat

They say the human body can go without food for 3 weeks, 3 days without water, typically 7-8 minutes without air. Did you notice I just listed the 3 essentials primarily needed to sustain human beings or life for that matter? The question is why all of a sudden I decided to go all science or encyclopedia on you.

What if I was to tell you while conveniently ignoring our evolution from monkeys, we have evolved to a level where these three things are no longer the only things that we need to sustain life. Knowingly unknowingly, intentionally or unintentionally, slowly and steadily it has crawled its way as one of the fundamentals for survival. I am of course talking about mobile phones and its minions (tablets, smartwatches and stuff).

If we all be honest with ourselves, I guess 90% people will agree with me when I say that we cannot live without our mobile phones for longer than a minute. Call it a force of habit, being enslaved to them or whatever but that is the sad truth that none of us want to face. With social networking playing a pivotal role in the lives of people of all age groups, people seem as if they are infused with a need to become “cool” and as a result, the need for mobile phones has risen drastically. That vibration and sound of receiving a message have become more imperative than eating, sleeping, and all day-to-day activities.

Phantom notification syndrome (the tendency of someone to believe they got a notification when they have actually not) is not just an observation about the youth but for almost all people with a “smartphone” these days. It is as if we have been programmed to check up on our phone every minute or two for no suggestive reason. And if it is not to check up on our zero messages it is either to take a selfie, or just to console ourselves we are looking fine, or to play games. In a very rare instance, it is a task outside these 3 categories.

And if we examine objectively, after messaging/texting/tweeting/Instagramming, the next favorite thing of people is to tire out their fingers playing games.

After WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram this is the thing in common in all devices. So simple and yet so addictive. The craze for the online game is such that at a point even I started playing it and I don’t remember how my following month passed. I mean there cannot be a single person who does not daily get flooded with games requests daily. It’s hard to put to words as to what makes the mobile game this addictive it’s dope sound effects, its ever-increasing difficulty as you progress, its simple interface, or what, is a mystery yet to be solved. But there is one thing laid down in concrete – it’s definitely going to stay a favorite among people for a long time to come.

Traditional Gambling Versus Online Gambling

An Overview

Gambling nowadays is not related to a mere recreation activity albeit it has now taken a new direction into business and industry. For some it’s a pleasure activity and for the others it is a lucrative business. Although gambling is not at all a new sport which has emerged in this century, it has been a favorite of our ancestors and the historians date back the involvement into this activity to prehistoric times. It has been factually proved that even the early caveman was a gambler.

Gambling to a layman would mean sport involving money and an easy way to multiply the same. Although being a part f this sport means staking of one thing or the other. History has witnessed several incidents where not only wealth and material objects were a part of this game but also one’s own identity or the ownership of a family member was staked.

Gambling activity in this century has taken a two dimensional outlook. With high paced lives and scarcity of time for almost everything, even recreation activities are time bound. To this new age life, Internet comfortably snuggles in and creates a position of its own, thus giving room to Online Gambling. As compared to traditional gambling practices where one has to be physically available in the arena of casino, online gambling gives us the comfort of gambling in the privacy of our homes or café.

To further elaborate on both the categories of gambling lets have a closer look into the basic features of both. Traditional gambling basically has three types of games involved namely the table games, random games and gaming machines. Almost all the categories in traditional gambling requires parting with physical cash and getting them converted into chips which are of various denominations and are then further used in the game. The only division of game which does not require conversion of cash into chips is that of slot machines. Here the gambler has to place a quarter into the slot machine and pull on the lever. There are still some games where cash is deposited, but that is mainly confined to games which involve huge jackpots. Generally in such games the basic deposit only sums up to a huge amounts.

Online gambling, on the other hand, is a relatively comfortable way of enjoying the game. Needless to say the reason for its manifold popularity goes to the time factor and the availability of pleasure at the click of a button. Moreover, in order to attract more and more people into online gambling the owners make their sites tempting by offering various payback schemes and added advantages to its members. All sorts of games can be selected by just logging on the website. Basically the games available in this form of gambling can be broadly divided into two categories, one in which a particular software needs to be downloaded and the other which can be played without it as well.

Comparative Analysis of Traditional Gambling and Online Gambling

Although online gambling is gaining momentum, traditional gambling is still the undisputed leader in the business. There are pros and cons in both forms of gambling and it depends upon the personal liking of each gambler as to which form suits his or her requirement.

In traditional gambling where one can find the adrenaline rising and pressure on one’s nerves, the same is a miss in online gambling to some extent. The pleasure of winning and celebrating can be only enjoyed in the traditional gambling. The drive behind playing it again and again lies in winning and celebrating, thus giving instant boost in business of the casino owners. Winning of one motivates thousands others to remain in the game. Thus if we see the involvement, pleasure and financial aspect of gambling, no doubt traditional gambling would take a lead into it.

Online gambling, on the other hand, suits one and all to the extent of people residing in remote areas where availability of an actual casino is a miss. All it requires is a basic internet connection and you are into the pleasure of the sport. It gives you the leverage of time and space. Another advantage of online gambling can be that one can enjoy huge payouts and bonuses, but along with it the companies keep a catch of not paying the entire earned amount in order to make the gambler play for long. The reason for making a player gamble for longer durations is that generally the longer you play the chances of you losing increase, thereby making the casino owners reap higher profit margins.

In terms of business traditional gambling is favorable to the casino owners. They have all the tools and tactics available to make a gambler play and stay for long which in turn means that the odds increase in the favour of casino owners. But for a gambler, traditional form of gambling may be of loss at times as the earnings are lesser than the actual amount earned. Generally the payouts are in terms of 5 or 6 times the actual amount put at stake but the casinos pay out lesser and so results in visible loss.

Conclusion

Gambling in the eyes of gambler has its own dimensions which cannot be gauged by the critics. Form of gambling may have difference of opinions but the ultimate pleasure of sport cannot be undermined in either form of gambling.

On the other hand gambling as a line of business may mean totally different to the casino owners. They would have an altogether different stream of thoughts to analyze the two forms of gambling.

To sum up, both the forms of gambling have their own set of advantages and disadvantages and none of it can be said to be perfect. It totally depends upon the individual to choose from the options available which can satiate his or her desire.

The only common thing in both the streams is to set up individual limits and to keep his or her decisive powers strong so as to know when to draw the line.

Reasons Why You Should Play Sudoku More

Sudoku is among the most popular brain number games. The game requires players to fill blank boxes in the puzzle using specific rules, thus pushing the brain extensively to solve. It is a good game that challenges and exercises the brain, bringing in lots of benefits too. Whereas it seems like a very difficult game that only adults can handle, there is easy Sudoku that suits children as well or beginners for that matter. If you like solving puzzles or playing other mind challenging games, then you should also consider playing Sudoku. Here are some of the benefits that come with the game making it worth trying out.

It increases focus – This game requires focusing complete attention to solving the numbers and in the end it helps improve mind wondering tendencies. By focusing clearly on the task, performance is greatly boosted and you will find that you are more alert. It is one of the reasons that the game is great even for kids.

It keeps the mind stimulated – This is because the number game keeps practicing the process of logical thinking. You also will greatly manage to improve number skills using this game.

It helps improve memory – The truth is that logic and memory do work hand in hand especially when playing this game. You will need to memorize the number and use logic to figure what the missing numbers are in the game.

It improves mental maths – This is an advantage that will work very well especially with kids. Sudoku has a way of polishing cognitive skills in children because it familiarizes them with numbers. It becomes very easy for them to work out sums without the need to write everything down and work them out.

It boosts happiness – By managing to accomplish the puzzles, you will have a happy sense of accomplishment and this keeps you happy. This is especially the case when you finally nail a difficult puzzle that gave you lots of challenges to solve.

It reduces risks of Alzheimer’s – It does this by keeping the brain active, hence lowering the risks of the condition. It is indeed very good for the brain.

It helps divert energy in a positive way – There are so things that can be done with extra time but not all of them are beneficial. In fact, most are time wasters and bring nothing positive, especially where children are concerned. This puzzle makes a very beneficial filler into that extra time and in the end it also teaches children how to be patient and never to give up.

The fact that Sudoku can be enjoyed in different levels makes it great for both children and adults. Even as a beginner, you can find puzzles that challenge you but are not necessarily difficult, so you can move up the levels according to how comfortable you are and how far you are willing to challenge your mind. The many benefits definitely make the brain game worth playing.

US Gambling in the Midst of UIGEA

Online gambling in United States is endangered with the passing of the UIGEA or Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. It was enforced in 2007 and since then it has dramatically curtailed the online gambler population. Many gambling websites have already stopped operating and many online gamblers have controlled their urge to gamble for the fear of being caught.

Such scare continued to linger despite the efforts to assure people. A few online gambling sites offer gambling system in roulette in which the prizes double with succeeding loss. This martingale system aims to attract more players. Many people aren’t aware of this prohibition and so aren’t familiar with its specifics. This led to false notions, and because of that, information campaign regarding UIGEA has become necessary.

Gambling Sanction

The major implication of UIGEA is to prevent operation of online gambling sites, thereby, preventing players to gamble. This is a US law and is being enacted in two ways. First, it compels legal operations of gambling sites through qualification assessment and issuance of gambling license as administered by Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, which will oversee the legalities of operations. Second, other games shall be reclassified and redefined for delineation; hence, games like chess, roulette, and poker shall be removed from the UIGEA scope.

UIGEA does have a good result-security in gambling for US players. Since it tracks down different online gambling sites, it is almost impossible for them to run away, supposing they commit crimes. The main issue is that the UIGEA stirred the industry drastically. A more pressing situation is its ineffective enforcement. The irregularity in enforcement made UIGEA a culprit of setbacks in the online gambling world, no less.

General Picture

UIGEA is so inefficiently enforced that it has become a culprit of profound problems encountered in online gambling today. The issue has a lot to do with the shareholders who invested funds in gambling sites. Because of the impending prohibition of gambling, many shareholders withdrew their shares from online gambling sites because of fear of bankruptcy. This slump causes many gambling websites to shut down operations. As more sites closed, people began to believe that it was going to be the end of online gambling in the United States. Many of these online venues lay the blame on UIGEA for their closure and non-operation. What was supposed to safeguard the gambling market lead to its near demise.

This ineffective enforcement of UIGEA also caused another repercussion. As it is not implemented in some states, there is confusion across the country as to the scope of this law, whether it aims to ban gambling and ban citizens to gamble online or not. Nevertheless, UIGEA does not necessarily prohibit American players to join online gambling websites. But some states did not understand the bill correctly. So many of the US gamers have now succumbed to the idea that they could no longer enjoy gambling online. Despite the number of states allowing gambling, the anxiety in the whole country is very real. As you can see the truth, the nation’s opinion regarding gambling is not in unison. And up to the time that UIGEA continues to be in partial implementation, this nationwide confusion goes on.

Online Gambling Problems

The advances in broadband and wireless technology have made the world come together closer than never before. Now virtually everything is possible on the net-shopping, clinching business deals, social networking, and even gambling, the ever-favorite pastime of men. Online gambling first emerged in the early part of the 1990s and had become an instant hit, with an estimated 3000 online websites on the net today. It totally radicalized the gambling industry and has seen takers from across age groups. However, just like the land version, even internet gambling is fraught with problems. The addiction problem prevails in the online world as well.

What is problem gambling?

Problem gambling is an impulse-control disorder that leads to major disruptions in all areas of life: psychological, social, vocational or physical. It also includes the stage of ‘pathological’ or ‘compulsive’ gambling. Problem gambling is characterized by an increasing preoccupation with gambling. They have an urge to bet money more frequently and become restless or irritable, if anyone tries to stop. They usually are aware of the mounting, serious, negative problems but staying off the bet becomes the most difficult thing for them.

Online problem gambling is a manifestation of the aforementioned problems. But a study has shown that people who indulge in online gambling have more serious addiction problems than those who use the lottery or play slot machines. Online gambling problems are on the rise because of the explosive growth of the internet.

Causes leading to Internet Gambling

o The privacy and anonymous nature of the internet space has led to people taking to gambling without any hesitation.

o Easy accessibility of online games in the internet has led to people spending more time on gambling.

o Those who work on the internet most of the time can easily avail of online games. This gradually leads to addiction.

Signs of problem Gambling

o Gambling much longer than intended.

o Gambling until you spend the last penny.

o Using up incomes or even saving to gamble, while bills remain unpaid.

o Borrowing money continuously to finance your gambling needs.

o Neglecting your family and professional responsibilities.

o Stoop to stealing, cheating or selling household stuff to get gambling money.

o Gamble with the hope that it will solve financial woes or even win back losses.

o Relieve feelings of depression.

o They can easily set up a gambling account and there are a variety of forms of gambling – right from traditional betting, to casino gambling, lotteries and bingo. All this makes online gambling tremendously appealing.

o There is no time limit and in the absence of a supervisor, a person can go on gambling for up to 24 hours a day.

o As you play, there is a decreased perception of the value of cash and players frequently forget that they are playing with cash.

Online Gambling and its effects

Though many believe that legalized gambling is just harmless entertainment, but people already affected by it and continuous study results have veered on its deceptive nature. In fact, it is considered to cause even more harm than playing in a live casino building. The health and emotional difficulties associated with gambling disorders includes depression, circulatory disease, substance abuse and even risky sexual behavior. Recent studies have concluded that online gambling comprised basically of unmarried and younger participants over people who never gamble. Contrary to the fact that internet is associated with high education level and higher income strata, the study pointed out that online gambler addicts belong to lower education and income levels. Online gambling is one of the fastest growing addictions to afflict the youth today.

The American Psychological Association (APA) conducted a study wherein they found that 74% of online gamblers are problematic or pathological gamblers. Among this, the group that is most at risk is the teens. Online problem gamblers spend much more money on the online gambling websites than the amount teenagers spend on drugs. The worse bit of online gambling is its anonymity. Earlier, a person had to go to a gambling house in order to satisfy their urge to gamble and everybody knew how you fare or how much you lost. But now, you just walk into your office or bedroom and there goes your savings in thin air, and not a soul gets a whiff of it. The lenient regulation measures of the online gambling industry have only added on to the problem.

Treatment for Online Problem Gambling

Those addicted to online gambling need to take the following steps to avoid and get over such problems. Its very important to remember the onus of the entire treatment process lies, first and foremost, with you. You should wake up and take control, before you reach the point of no return. The first steps are always the hardest and once you can overcome them; the rest will be a breeze of air.

o Be honest with yourself and accept your problem.

o Manage your money and keep track of the amount you are spending. Gamers should remember to spend only what they can afford to lose. Chasing losses will only lead to a further downward spiral.

o Postpone your gambling urges. Next time you want to play, catch a movie or go out for dinner. Playing sudoku will take off your mind from gambling for a while.

o When you have leisure time, indulge in recreation that has nothing to with gambling.

o Use software to block access to gambling sites and make it password protected. You should not know the password.

o Get professional help as soon as possible.

Online problem gambling may affect anyone. One should be aware of one’s gambling behavior. There are many gory examples of problem gambling which should serve as eye openers for the affected. Any form of addiction is a choice. It becomes a disease because of your loss of control. Speak to your near and dear ones. Help is never far away. One precious lifetime is all you get, and it would be incredibly foolish to attempt to ruin even a second of it by way of unnecessary problems.

Top VR Games for Your Android Phone

VR or virtual reality is the new innovation by the tech world that has become an integral part of almost all sorts of games online. Virtual reality is a three dimensional environment that would render live and interactive experience to the gamer. There games are being designed to enhance the quality of the games and to give an awesome gaming experience to the gamer. The more innovative and user-friendly versions of these VR games are coming up in these days that are compatible enough even on smart phones.

Latest VR games would allow you to play the game on multiple devices with a single gamer name. You can play while commuting also by using your android phones. The latest versions of VR games are designed in such a way that they would render the same experience as a pc, laptop or a play station. Now as we know what is a VR game is all about let’s look at few latest VR games designed for android phones,

• Mekorama VR – A puzzle game where you have to guide a small robot through various levels. At the beginning it’s quite simple because there will be few stones to be moved but the difficulty increases from one level to the next. In this game you use the controller to move the stones and show the robot the way to move up.

• Hunters Gate: A game for action lovers – You will become a savior of the world when the world has been attacked by demons and you have to keep them back. This is a fun-filled and graphically impressive game. This is a famous rolling game whose elements make you stronger over time and will teach you new skills. For playing this game you must use daydream controllers, and these controllers help you in keeping track of what’s happening from above, which reduces your too much interaction with the virtual movement.

• Need for Speed: A VR game for admirers of speed, the game enhances the sensation of speed by Virtual Reality and is probably the best racing game for Daydream-capable smart phones. An exciting ride is guaranteed because of its impeccable graphics and breakneck-pace. Besides that the choice of customization and car tuning made this game more enchanting and exciting.

• Gun jack 2: End of Shift – A game where you will be sitting on cannon on our solar system and fend off the attackers who are desperate to steal the minerals from our planet. You will be having immense arsenal weapons and can control everything with your gaze.

Gambling Addiction and Its Behavioral Effects

Gambling addiction is a serious mental health disorder, which can be identified in two ways: a person either a) continuously bet on things using money or objects that hold value even though negative consequences arise as a result, or, b) they cannot stop gambling even if they desired to. People suffering from gambling addiction often display a strong urge to bet on a wide-range of gambling mediums-from sports games to poker, to choosing lottery numbers and throwing dice. And although friends and family members of compulsive gamblers don’t see the symptoms physically, like they often do with alcoholics or drug abusers, the consequences gambling addiction has serious implications on their lives as well as the lives of their friends and families. Not realizing its severity or taking it too lightly can be devastating for the addicted gambler in the long run. Gamblers can reach a point of literally losing everything, from cars, to homes, to businesses, and even respect from those they care about.

It’s well-known that Florida is notorious for providing “the hotspot” for gamblers all over the world, as well as its residents. But how many gamblers actually endure financial problems? A recent survey by the Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling shed light on card playing, reporting that 70% of these people had trouble paying their bills. But here’s the worst part, which is known to be a side-effect of excessive gambling–1 in 3 of these card players admitted to having participated in illicit activities in order to finance their gambling. Playing cards isn’t as harmless as we thought; criminal activity is still a cause for concern.

Gambling addicts are not always obvious about their situation; sometimes they don’t even realize it themselves. They don’t dwell on what has been lost as a result of their destructive activities and behaviors. Instead, compulsive gamblers only focus on the gains, or the supposed investment aspect of the games they play. And unlike drug or alcohol addiction, a person addicted to gambling will not display symptoms such as heavy fatigue, sickness, loss of energy or dizziness; instead, other factors are apparent, such as falling into deep financial trouble, losing quality time with the ones they love, and heightening the chances of entering into drug or alcohol addiction.

It’s difficult to establish who has a gambling problem and who doesn’t. Where is the threshold between social gamblers, and abusive gamblers? Are there any red flags? The answer is yes. Pathological gamblers often display one or more of the following signs: negligent of family get-togethers, acts on criminal behavior in order to acquire more stuff to bet on, would rather gamble then hang out with friends, talk excessively about gambling and winning money, use drugs or alcohol to distract them from wanting to gamble more, become irritated when not gambling, neglect vital responsibilities for gambling time, and lying to family and friends about going out gambling. A combination of these signs should be a red flag when identifying a compulsive gambler. But remember, none of these signs mention the amount of times a person gambles in a period of time. It’s not about “quantity.” A person can gamble every day and it may not affect his life. Also, gambling addiction isn’t OK if you’re wealthy; rich gamblers can still have issues like neglecting their loved ones and other vital responsibilities.

Florida is well-known for its casinos, entertainment arenas and cruise ship gambling. But environmental factors such as these may cause people to be more susceptible to the development of gambling addiction. Gambling addiction isn’t a problem that stands alone-it may lead to criminal behavior, psychological distress and depression, and fuel other more dangerous addictions. As stated earlier, a person may fall into drug or alcohol addiction in order to supplement or replace their gambling behavior. The combination of multiple addictions can be devastating and more difficult to treat; it would be like tangling a web of loose strings and trying to unravel them all at once.

Addiction specialists and counselors use a variety of methods in treating gambling addiction effectively, including: helping the addict understand what drives him or her to gamble, replacing their betting habits with more productive activities, understanding how it affects the people they care about, and finally, strengthening one’s will to live a more productive lifestyle. If you notice warning signs that you or your loved one is suffering from gambling addiction, it is crucial to intervene and find treatment before it is too late. Doctors treat gambling addiction as a serious brain disease, and people suffering from it are also prone to drug addiction. The importance of acquiring immediate treatment can be the difference between losing everything, and saving someone’s life.