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  • Writer's pictureKendra Beavis

Money Addiction & Gambling, A Public Quandary

When the words “money addiction” are said many things come to mind. There are many types of addictions – alcohol, tobacco, drugs, food or exercise. Addictions that are becoming more and more of a problematic in the United States are addiction to money and gambling. These addictions may be defined as shopping, borrowing or gambling.

Recent studies reveal those in our society addicted to money use the same vocabulary used for drug addictions to describe their emotions: high, rush and crash. People addicted to money experience this “HIGH” without putting any chemistry in their bodies, instead they get “HIGH” from the idea of obtaining things – be it clothes, music, technology or whatever is desired (shopping), paying off debts (borrowing), or winning cash gambling.

An important issue with money addictions is the need for self-fulfillment and self-value. Making bets allows them to feel powerful, important and gives them a sense of control. Withdrawal symptoms are similar to other addicts and include extreme restlessness, agitation, depression, anger, anxiety and feelings of inadequacy.

Money addictions are common to all ages, races, socioeconomic groups and genders. Studies show that men tend to struggle with gambling addictions, while women struggle with shopping addictions.

Family backgrounds also reflect similarities with other addictions. Often one or both parents of money-addicts are typically absent, emotionally unavailable or had addictions of their own. A study found that upwards of 30% of alcoholics also have extreme money addiction like shopping sprees, shoplifting, buying unneeded or unwanted things, not being able to stop when gambling, or borrowing with no intention to pay back.

Here are some signs that you could have a money addiction problem..

  1. Have you often gambled/spent longer than you had planned?

  2. Have you often gambled/spent until your last dollar was gone?

  3. Have thoughts of money caused you to lose sleep?

  4. Have you used your income or savings to take risks while letting bills go unpaid?

  5. Have you made repeated, unsuccessful attempts to stop your money addiction?

  6. Have you broken the law or considered breaking the law to finance your money addiction?

  7. Have you borrowed money to finance your debt?

  8. Have you felt depressed or suicidal because of your losses?

  9. Have you been remorseful after being active in your addiction?

  10. Have you taken high risks to get money to meet your financial obligations?

Here are some suggestions for how to better manage your money:

  1. Make yourself accountable to a MONEY MANAGER, someone you trust to handle your money

  2. Operate on a budget and get receipts for your purchases to hand to your money manager

  3. Never borrow money unless approved with your money manager.

  4. Keep a record in coordination with your money manager of who and where you have borrowed money from and who has borrowed money from you.

  5. Set limits before you start on how much you are willing to spend or lose when spending.

  6. Try to pay as much as possible with a debit card. Paying with a credit card can be disillusioning because you are not actually seeing the money you are spending.

  7. See a qualified Money Addictions Specialist for help. (}

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