Being addicted to bingo is a real problem, which requires treatment. If ignored, it can lead to pathological gambling and for some, suicide. Two to five percent of Americans suffer from gambling addiction, read on to find out if you or someone you know is suffering.
Being Addicted to Gambling and Bingo
Being addicted to Bingo is a form of gambling addiction. Many people do not realize this because this game is easily accessible and not believed to be as addictive as slot machines or other common casino games. The truth is, it does not matter what game you become addicted to if you show the signs and symptoms of gambling addiction.
Symptoms of being Addicted to Bingo
You need to play more because you do not get the same high off the game as you used to get when you first started playing.
You play because something has gone wrong in your life and it provides you a way to get away from it.
All you think about is playing the game and when you are not playing, you are researching it or thinking about when is the next game.
- Disrupting your life
The game starts disrupting your life in a negative way. You may lose your job because you decide to play Bingo or you start having arguments with your friends and family about your obsession.
- Can't stop
You feel guilty because even though you tried to stop, you cannot.
- Withdrawal symptoms
Just as with chemical dependency, you may feel physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms such as restlessness, insomnia, and irritability when you cannot play.
- Engage in criminal behavior
You may start to steal money from friends, family, or strangers.
- Making up
You keep playing because you feel a strong need to make up the money you lost.
Phases of Gambling Addiction
Robert L. Custer, M.D. came up with phases someone goes through in the process of becoming addicted to gambling. These phases also relate to bingo addiction.
- Winning phase
It starts with the person winning consecutively. This makes the person feel powerful and gives him or her thrill. It also makes the person feel he or she can continue to win.
- Losing phase
All those wins were bound to catch up to the person and he or she begins to lose many games in a row. The person starts running out of money and asks others for a loan or steals it. This person also starts playing alone so no one knows about the losses.
- Desperation phase
Once the person reaches this phase, he or she loses all sense of control. This person spends more time playing and isolates him or herself. Another characteristic is blaming others for lost games.
- Hopelessness phase
The person has hit "rock bottom" and considered a pathological gambler. This person cannot get a hold of the problem and does not know what to do about it. Many people in this phase will contemplate suicide and some will attempt it.
Risk for Gambling Addiction
Many factors contribute to the risk of developing this type of dependency. Even though these factors do not guarantee someone will become dependent, they may play a part in understanding the reasons why you or your loved one is suffering.
- Feeling depressed (hopeless, helpless, sad)
Playing bingo gives you a sense of worth, excitement, and happiness, which you may not have felt in a long time.
- Being around the games
If you live or spend a lot of time around this type of environment, you are more likely to play often and become addicted.
- Family members who are addicted
Many people who grow up with family members who gamble often, see no harm in it, which contributes to development of the dependency.
- Thrill seeker
You love the thrill and excitement of winning or the possibility of winning.
- Substance abuse
The use of substances such as drugs and/or alcohol lowers your inhibitions to steal for money to gamble with and put yourself at risk for losing.
Bingo may seem like a harmless game and for some, it is. For others who are susceptible to gambling addiction, it can provide them an easy way to fulfill their cravings. If you or someone you know show any signs of dependency, there is help out there. Many local substance abuse agencies provide services such as psychotherapy, group counseling, and residential treatment programs. The first step in recovery is seeking help for your addiction.