The Role of Shame in Gambling Addiction

The Role of Shame in Gambling AddictionPeople who struggle with gambling addiction exude any of the following problems:

  • The inability to avoid gambling
  • Continuing to gamble even if the act hurts themselves or their loved ones
  • Constant preoccupation with gambling
  • Disregard for any emotional state associated with gambling
  • Disruption of a person’s life due to gambling

Often the emotions associated with gambling include anticipation, shame, guilt, anxiety and depression.

How Gambling Addiction Works

Compulsive gambling often engenders a wide emotional range. When anticipating gambling, addicts become excited and their heart rates increase. During the first act of gambling, addicts feel comforted and that they are where they belong. These feelings are augmented by the camaraderie of other gamblers: during these exchanges, people have feelings of competitiveness, and they experience exultation when they win. This high may continue or diminish depending on the outcome of their bets. If people lose, they experience depression and regret.

This cycle occurs repeatedly for gamblers. In addition, the following problems contribute to the emotional roller coaster of gambling addiction:

  • Where did you get the money to gamble?
  • Was the money allocated for mortgage payments, car payments or other household expenses?
  • How does your spouse and family feel about your gambling?
  • Does your gambling interfere with family interactions?
  • Does your gambling distract you from work?

The answers to these questions may result in shame about someone’s gambling addiction.

How Shame Affects Gambling Addiction

Shame is a feeling of humiliation caused by the consciousness of foolish behavior. While guilt is often associated with actions, shame is an emotion that is introspective and causes people to feel badly about themselves. People cope with shame in many ways, but these ways are often destructive and ignore the source of shame. Some of these behaviors include the following examples:

  • Bullying – To feel better about themselves, people with shame often lash out at others to feel better about themselves
  • Power over others – To divert their negative feelings, people with shame may seek power over others to make them feel more valuable
  • Diverting blame – To avoid accountability, people may blame others for their problems
  • Overcompensating – By pleasing everyone, people with shame can prove their worth
  • Withdrawal – People who feel shame may avoid others and isolate themselves from their reality

While these behaviors often provide temporary relief, they can also feed shameful feelings.

Gambling Addiction Help

Gambling addiction requires professional treatment. However, when people feel shame, they may not reach out for the help they need. While recovery is difficult, it is possible and we can help, so please call our toll-free helpline today. We are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you have about gambling addiction treatment, so reach out for help right now.