Stress: A specific response by the body to a stimulus such as fear or pain that disturbs or interferes with the normal physiological equilibrium of an organism.
We all feel stressed from time to time. Stress affects us physically, mentally and emotionally. The worry or pressure caused by life’s issues affects us in ways we can’t always control, often upsetting us and interrupting our ability to feel good, be productive and stay happy.
There are many things that can cause an individual to feel stressed, including things such as:
- Money issues
- Fights with family members
- Fading friendships
- Job issues or unemployment
- Poor health
And stress can affect us in many different ways. Some people get headaches or stomachaches when they are stressed, while others may feel tired or want to isolate themselves from others. Some individuals want to talk about what is making them stressed, while others don’t want to talk about issues they are facing at all.
For so many people, gambling is a method of stress management.
The Rush & Escape of Gambling
Why gamble when you’re stressed?
Many individuals choose to use gambling as a form of escape. The repetitiveness of particular methods of gambling, such as gambling on slot machines, allows players to place bet after bet for hours at a time. With nearly continuous availability, especially as more forms of gambling become available online, the ability to ignore stress and problems becomes easier when you can simply focus on placing your bets, one after another.
But it’s not just the methods of gambling that allow you to escape that are sought after for stress management. Sports gambling and games such as poker allow people to really feel competitive – making them seek the rush of winning and the rush of achievement.
Stress & Problem Gambling
Unfortunately, gambling to manage (or ignore) stress can become a serious problem for many people. As they gamble more and more, what was stressing them in the first place is ignored. Financial issues stack up, relationships fray, health can decline and more stress can be caused – leading to more gambling.
“I was depressed. The guilt and shame that had built from fourteen years of gambling became too much to deal with. I had ruined too much, lost too many things and was a disappointment to so many people.” – “The Faces of Problem Gambling: The Gambler Turned Coach”
When gambling is used to handle stress, the addiction that may follow can have much more serious consequences. Fortunately, treatment is available, and recovery is possible. The Gambler Turned Coach’s story tells you her personal experience, and how she found recovery.
Finding Your Way to a Gambling-Free Life
Addictions are tremendously difficult to face, but many people have found the ability to quit gambling and begin living a healthier lifestyle. Many methods of support are available to help problem gamblers begin their recovery, such as private counseling, in-patient rehab, support groups and more.
Our infographic, “The Path of Problem Gambling,” walks you through the path by which many problem gamblers begin to recognize their addiction’s consequences, face them and begin to recover.
Alternative Methods of Stress Management
Of course, quitting gambling isn’t the only solution. You have to address the underlying issues, as well. Why were you gambling in the first place?
For individuals who gambled to relieve stress, they will have to find healthier ways to face problems, relax when under pressure, and find ways to address worries. Healthy activities to do while in gambling addiction recovery, such as reading, writing, meditating and exercise can help manage stress, while also filling the time that was previously spent gambling.
It takes a lot of personal effort to make lifestyle changes that keep you from gambling, but people are available to help you make healthier choices and manage stress better. By doing so, you can live a happier life – with less stress!