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Gambling wasn’t considered a real addiction generations ago. Doctors thought that people could easily control their gambling problems on their own if they wanted to do so. We now know that this isn’t entirely true. People can become mentally addicted to gambling just like they can get addicted to drugs. The thrill of gambling often attracts people from many different backgrounds. The truth is that any person can become susceptible to gambling with real money if they don’t take care of their issues early enough. Gambling with real money can quickly become one of the most damaging addictions you could ever have.

Introductions to gambling can be harmless enough. Many children play bingo at young ages, and they often aren’t told that playing bingo is a form of gambling that adults often play for real money. When a child gets older, they might make bets with classmates over sporting games. One child may bet his or her lunch money on the outcome of something, and then they won’t have lunch that day. Even though they lose, they enjoyed the adrenaline rush of wagering something. They remember this feeling when they get older, and some of them turn to real gambling habits sooner rather than later.

Many people play free gambling games where they don’t actually lose any money. The games are fun and enjoyable when they win and even when they lose. But the novelty of these free games soon wears off, and they then seek something to increase the rush they feel. One of the first targets for a young gambling addict is scratch card tickets. These can be found at convenience stores, drug stores, grocery stores, and other places. They may start out by purchasing a ticket for a dollar to see if they win, but soon they will escalate to tickets that cost five dollars or ten dollars. Then the real addiction begins.

They may win a few decent sums during their binges, but the losses begin to mount. The few wins they do get fuel their fire even more and lead them to believe that gambling is a good way to get more money. They might then look into bigger prizes such as lottery drawings where millions of dollars are up for grabs. They could also begin playing online casino games so that they can risk money from the comfort of their own home without leaving. The easy configuration of gambling websites attracts many gambling addicts each year, and it’s tough to get help for someone who knows how easy it is to get their gambling fix.

A real gambler may then turn to online poker games and blackjack games to risk money against other people. The idea of taking money directly from other people appeals to so many gamblers, and it’s easy to see why. Everyone wants to win a poker game for the money and for the bragging rights. A true gambling addict may only care about the money. They will step on any toes they can to get ahead. They certainly won’t be looking to make any friends at the poker or blackjack tables. Gamblers are only out to make their own money.

As the gambling debts begin to pile up, gamblers do anything to get their hands on more money. People who used to be law-abiding citizens resort to lies and deceit to fund their gambling habits. They may also max out credit cards and steal money from other people. They must gamble no matter what. These casino tables are open for business, and they make plenty of money from people who are addicted to gambling. Before you know it, you could become a regular at a casino even when you’re not winning much of anything. The debts will continue to pile up, and you may soon find yourself in a situation you can no longer control. That’s not a nice place to be.

The families of gambling addicts also pay a literal and figurative price. The gambler may empty family bank accounts, max out credit cards, and put the family into insurmountable debt just to satisfy their urge to gamble. Some gamblers have even cashed in savings bonds and accounts that were otherwise set up for college funds for their children. No money is safe from someone who desperately needs to feed his or her gambling addiction. A family may never recover financially after a gambler wipes out all of the family funds trying to win more. The financial price to pay is certainly staggering when a gambler is in your life.

Having a gambler in your family also takes an emotional and mental toll on you. People will know their reputation, and it will also look poorly on you. You’ll be known as a gambler’s wife, husband, child, or brother. You’ll also watch the person you love slowly disappear from your life. Instead of going on family vacations, the gambler will take trips to casinos. Nights out for fun dates now become more chances to blow money on bets somewhere. There is truly no end to the mental anguish you could go through with a gambler in your life, and getting them help could be difficult.

The best way to avoid gambling for real money is to avoid all gambling before you start. Even if you enjoy gambling for free money or play money, you should consider what it can lead to in the future. You could find another hobby that won’t get you in trouble. If you have an addictive personality, you should avoid gambling by any means necessary. You are the only one who knows your strengths and weaknesses. If you know you can enjoy gambling once in a while without financial hardship, then go for it. If gambling puts a handicap on your financial and emotional life, you need to seek help immediately and avoid gambling in the future.

Once you start down the path to gambling addiction, it will be difficult to make a good life for yourself. You will fight that demon for your entire life. You won’t be able to run and hide from it. You will face a gambling demon every time you look in the mirror each morning. Each day you will need to confront and defeat the desire to throw away money. You have to think about helping yourself for your own good and the good of the people around you. Gambling for real money has real consequences, and it can get you in real trouble. Knowing that is half the battle. The other half is having the discipline to say no and walk away when the urge arises.

Before you begin the gambling lifestyle, you have to ask yourself if it is worth the hassle. Can you throw your life away for a few thrills? Notice the word cheap wasn’t used. Gambling is the most expensive addiction known to man. You can blow thousands of dollars in just a few minutes if you’re not careful. The vast majority of people can’t handle the financial and emotional abuse that happens as a result of losing that kind of money. You must weigh the risks and rewards of gambling before you dive in, and you’ll see that the risks are far too great.

If someone in your life is drowning in gambling problems, you should get help for them as soon as possible. Many gamblers don’t want to admit they have a problem, so an intervention may be the only way to save someone you love. The time is now.