Gambling in today’s society is more popular than it’s ever been. Research indicates that at least 86% of those living in the United States have gambled at least one time, which means that you and your friends have most likely experienced the thrills of gambling before. Gambling has been a popular pastime since the rise of early ancient civilizations, and people today are still playing for the same overarching reason: gambling is fun. You may view gambling as a hobby that differs very little from other expensive hobbies such as sports, painting, music lessons, or culinary adventures. When viewed in this light, gambling is an entertaining, thrilling, rewarding experience. However, many individuals venture into an unhealthy mindset in which “fun” is no longer the ultimate goal. Take the time to learn about the common signs of a gambling addiction so that you can protect you, your friends, and your loved ones from the dangers of an unhealthy gambling obsession. By learning about the symptoms of an unhealthy gambling mindset, you will be enabled to clearly see the “dead giveaways” of an unhealthy gambling obsession, thus preventing yourself and others from taking the fun out of gambling. You Distance Yourself If you or a friend is beginning to develop a gambling obsession, it is likely that distancing from family and friends will occur. Addicted gamblers begin to care more about their winnings than they do about the people close to them. This can be alarming to loved ones. If you are a friend or family member of someone who seems to be “slipping out of reality” and into an obsessive gambling mindset, try gently approaching them and discussing the issue before it gets too out of hand. You Only Care About Winning Gamblers are drawn to gambling because the experience is different from any other experience in the entertainment sphere. The atmosphere practically drips with uniqueness and individuality. Casinos, online or brick and mortar, are a great way to get away from the stress of a full day and enter a reality that is totally removed from the goings on of normal, everyday life. Unfortunately, those who become addicted to gambling often become oblivious to the reason they originally began playing. Addicted gamblers begin to receive pleasure solely from wins and may experience self-loathing when they lose. If you find yourself no longer enjoying the gambling scene for the same reasons that originally attracted you, you may be slipping into a “win or else” mindset. Good gamblers have a blast whether they win or lose. When struggling with the “win or else” mindset, try making it a point to reflect on the fun you had while playing the game whether you win or not. Your Finances Suffer Fifteen to twenty million adults of all ages suffer from a gambling problem or addiction in the United States alone. Sadly, many of the people with pathological gambling addictions obsess so much over winning that they barely give their bank account a second thought. If you ever go into debt while gambling, you may want to step back and question whether you are making wise gambling decisions. Financial distress is one of the key symptoms of a gambling addiction. If you or a friend begins to experience sudden and uncharacteristic financial problems, think about talking to someone you trust or going to see a counselor. Addictions are powerful and it may be difficult to climb out of the “rut” alone. You’re Distracted At Home, Work, or School If you begin to find little satisfaction in the normal, run-of-the-mill activities you partake in each day, and if you begin thinking constantly about when you’ll be able to play your next hand, slot, or round, you may be on the verge of a gambling obsession. Don’t allow gambling to take up all of your think time and space. If you suspect you may be getting too reliant on gambling, try focusing your thoughts on positive things like your family, friends, and career instead of constantly thinking about your next casino stop. If you are confident that you are overly obsessing over gambling to such a degree that you experience distraction in other areas of your life, it is extremely important to seek help immediately. Gambling is a fun hobby that millions of people enjoy in a harmless and healthy fashion. Healthy gamblers understand that the odds are extreme, set boundaries on their spending, and remain involved in other activities. As a gambler who is it in it for the fun, you should be willing to lose, eager to continue investing in other activities, and firm when it comes to financial boundaries. Stay informed about the dangers of gambling addictions so that you can protect yourself and loved ones from straying. There’s no need to take the fun out of gambling.