There are numerous reasons why men gamble. Money is one, the passionate states gambling can engender is another. For others gambling covers over difficulties of melancholy, anxiety attacks, mania, drug and alcohol abuse.
Gambling is a kind of leisure for many people. About 90% of men in Hong Kong have taken part in some sort of gambling, such as horseracing, mahjong, card games, lottery and various other casino games. To a certain extent, gambling seems to be a part of our ethos.
Nevertheless, when a person’s gambling behavior becomes out of control and categorized by a continual need to gamble, even when the person experiences hitches and distress from gambling, he may be suffering from pathological gambling.
Most gamblers are men. In 2005 The National Council on Problem Gambling estimated that, of the approximately 2.9 million young people between the ages of 14 and 22 gambling on cards on a weekly basis, 80% are male.
The National Council on Problem Gambling estimates 1% of American adults (nearly 3 million people) are pathological gamblers. Another 2%–3% have less serious but still significant problems. They fear that overall as many as 15 million people are at risk from gambling.
Signs & Symptoms of Gambling Problem
There are a number of signs & symptoms that could indicate a problem with gambling:
- You covertly gamble.
- Your gambling makes you take time away from work and family obligations.
- You try abandoning gambling but then start again and again losing money that is needed to pay bills.
- You lie, steal, borrow or sell things to get gambling money
- You gamble to win back your losses. You dream of the “big win” and that keeps you in a spiral of debt.
- You gamble when you feel down or when you feel like rejoicing.
- Relationship are breaking down because of your gambling.
Pathological gambling can disturb people and people around him in many different ways. Some common effects of gambling include:
- Marital conflicts
- Relationship breakdown
- Financial difficulties, debts or bankruptcy
- Criminal activities
- Self-harm and suicide
Gambling is a customary behaviour. Breaking it may be hard but it is probable if you are strong-minded. You could try out the following self-management measures:
Evade the venue- Find and substitute other interesting things you can do during the times when you tend to gamble.
Set a limit- Stop gambling when you hit the limit no matter you are winning or losing.
Regulate the cash flow- Limit the accessibility of cash and protect your earnings by e.g. arranging to have daily withdrawal limit on your bank account, setting up joint account that requires two signatures, paying bills automatically, or putting a “no more credit” notation on your credit accounts.
Manage stress- Take regular exercise (e.g. jogging) and learn some relaxation methods (such as meditation, yoga) or do things that enable you to relax (e.g. listen to music, hanging out with friends) to reduce boredom and ease your nerve.
Keep a record- Diary may help you to appreciate your gambling activities, identify trends and patterns. For example, you go gambling when you feel bored or depressed, when you have cash on hand, or when you need money. The recordings can help you to look for diverse ways to manage with your wants.