According to a recent online story, the U.S. gambling industry has grown tenfold since 1975 and now we also have online gambling to add to the mix. It should be no surprise that millions of Americans have gambling problems each year. Dr. Stephen Grinstead specializes in addictions as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) and says the Internet has only created a new arena for gamblers. Grinstead says it’s important to identify signs and symptoms early on and to seek the help of a professional if necessary. These tips from the National Training Institute will help you identify if you may have a process addiction such as gambling:
- Do you have a preoccupation with gambling or spend excessive time or money on gambling?
- Have you lost touch with friends?
- Do you miss events or ignore your family obligations?
- Are you constantly betting and losing money beyond the limit you set for yourself?
- Do you have trouble meeting your monthly living expenses?
- Do you lie about your gambling losses or your whereabouts?
- Are you secretive about finances or deny any money problems?
- Are you always short on money?
- Do you talk about your wins but stay silent about your losses?
Grinstead says a process addiction is something that includes any activity, feeling, thought or relationship you might use to eliminate any personal pain you experience as an unbearable reality. People who suffer from a gambling addiction may have severe mood swings, be restless, anxious, depressed, hopeless or suicidal. Make sure you seek help if you suspect you might have a gambling problem or you know someone else who may need help.