One of the most chronically underreported forms of addiction in the USA today is gambling addiction. The line between being able to enjoy gambling for what it is, a way to have fun, and abusing it is so fine that most people don’t realize they have crossed it until something catastrophic has happened. Even then, some people have a hard time accepting the truth. A multi-billion dollar industry has been set up, in large part, to foster a gambling addiction in people. Casino owners know this, and despite a token ad campaign designed to alert people of possible problems, they design every single aspect of their establishments to keep people there longer than they need to be, always gambling and always losing. For comprehensive information on addictive behaviors and solutions.
If you can look past the flashing lights of the Vegas Strip and see what the second most plentiful business is in that highly concentrated tourist area, you would see that it is pawn shops. The real-life impact of gambling is right there underneath your nose every time you head to a gambling Mecca. Gambling addictions destroy lives, ruin careers, and cause people to act in ways that they never thought possible. Even if you are able to stop yourself from completely heading over a cliff, many chronic gamblers end up in the same place only at a much slower pace. They manage to hang on long enough to rack up obscene debt, go months without paying their credit card payments or mortgages, and some folks even end up in jail. All the while, these folks are thinking that if they can just get back to the card table one more time, things will be different. There is a reason why today’s mega-casinos are some of the most impressive and expensive structures ever built: the house rarely, if ever, loses. Gambling can be a fun and exciting adult way to spend your free time, and most critics of gambling agree that there aren’t enough genuinely “adult” ways that today’s adults can get away from the world, but without careful supervision, anyone can be sucked into the tempting vortex that is gambling.
Hopefully, if you know someone who may be experiencing a gambling addiction, you will have enough time between the beginning of their experience and the end that you can intervene. If you know someone who talks about gambling all the time, spends an inordinate amount of time planning vacations or gambling trips, or if you know someone who spends all hours of the day and night online either practicing gambling or playing for-money online poker, they may have a gambling addiction. If bills begin to go unpaid and you see less and less of that person, a serious problem is likely.
Hollywood and showbusiness have done a great job of highlighting the risks of gambling addiction and showing what the real-life consequences are. Gambling addiction can be stopped and treated, but it takes a herculean effort from everyone affected. As long as gambling exists in its current form, where players are encouraged and praised for playing as long as they can and with as much money as they can, gambling addiction will be a serious problem for generations to come.