Five Myths About Problem Gambling

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Five Myths About Problem Gambling
Five Myths About Problem Gambling
1. Problem gambling is really about not having enough money to gamble with.
The truth is problem gambling has little to do with money, either having too much of it or not having enough to participate in gambling activities.  Money is the means in which to gamble but even those who do not have resources to gamble, will find a way.  Those with money can also experience problem gambling.  Problem gambling is about filling a void with an activity that over time and with increased engagement, one can find themselves addicted to it.
2. Problem gambling is about being weak-willed or no willpower.
One’s will has nothing to do with whether or not they become a problem gambler.  Anyone can develop a gambling problem despite their will.  An addiction is not something that happens overnight; however, with continued gambling activity, one can find themselves addicted.  It has more to do with the reward centers of the brain.  A person with a very strong will can also become addicted to gambling.
3. Gambling is only a problem if you lose everything.
Many problem gamblers have not lost everything prior to seeking treatment.  Some individuals might not have lost anything but their self-respect, while others do lose everything.  Problem gambling lies on a continuum from someone who gambles very little to someone who gambles a lot.  At any point on this continuum, a problem gambler can and does exist.
4. Problem gamblers gamble every day.
The truth is some problem gamblers may only gamble every day or every month.  There is no relationship between how often one gambles and problem gambling.  What is important are the financial and emotional consequences of gambling that indicate a problem with gambling.
5. Problem gamblers are easy to recognize.
Many problem gamblers are unrecognizable because they look like everyone else in a casino.  There are no magic clothes or hats that problem gamblers wear or signs that read, I have a problem with gambling.  Problem gamblers come from all walks of life, all types of jobs, and all socioeconomic statuses.  Problem gamblers are probably more difficult to recognize as there are no outward signs of the addiction.  A problem gambler does not fall over drunk or stagger when walking or does not have a particular smell like alcohol on their breath.  There is no single characteristic that all problem gamblers possess other than their addiction to gambling.
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