We’re all familiar with the concept. American society has been told that in order for someone who struggles with addiction to admit that they have a problem and seek help, they must first hit “rock bottom”. While there’s some merit behind it, we suggest that it’s a dangerous concept to buy into. This can be especially true for behavioral health disorders such as problem gambling. Please read ahead to learn more.
Why Waiting to Hit Rock Bottom with Problem Gambling is a Dangerous Concept for Both Habitual Gamblers and Their Loved Ones
First, What Does Problem Gambling Rock Bottom Look Like?
One of the biggest issues in waiting to hit rock bottom before seeking help, or attempting to convince someone to get help, is rooted in the definition of what rock bottom is. It gets complicated.
We can look towards a number of other disorders to find similarities in quality of life and mental health changes. For instance, a multiphase process was recently employed to develop a measure of hitting bottom among individuals with alcohol use disorder (AUD). A psychometric evaluation of the measure was conducted using online data collected from individuals who identified as moderate to heavy drinkers. The original version of the analysis factored in a 114-items to assess hitting bottom across multiple domains. These included family problems, social problems, physical health problems, psychological and emotional problems, employment/financial/housing problems, legal problems, identity and values conflict, spiritual change, negative role-obligation changes, self-cognitive appraisal, and more. Ultimately, the confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) broke the concept down into the five categories:
Source: National Library of Medicine
The conclusions of the above-referenced study are logical, but to sum it up in laymen terms, significant detriment to the following infers that a problem gambler has hit rock bottom:
- Significantly compromised relationships
- Significantly compromised financial security
- Significantly compromised employment
- Significantly compromised housing and safety
- Significantly compromised physical health
- Significantly compromised mental health
Considering these ramifications, you can see why waiting to hit some preconceived level of rock bottom to take action is a dangerous game. Please keep reading.
Why it’s Dangerous for Gamblers to Wait
The societal narrative that an addict needs to hit rock bottom can influence a problem gambler’s self-assessment. If they feel that they aren’t there yet, they may assume that they can still control their behavior and delay seeking help. This only puts them deeper down the hole with respect to the relationship, financial, physical health, and mental health considerations addressed above. Does it make sense for a problem gambler to lose everything before taking action? Certainly not. Early intervention therapy is highly effective in treating someone with existing or emerging gambling disorder. If you exhibit any of the signs or symptoms of problem gambling and/or you have mental/behavioral health issues that may increase your vulnerability to gambling disorder, the time to reach out for help is now.
Why it’s Dangerous for Loved Ones to Wait
The rock bottom narrative is especially dangerous for a problem gambler’s loved ones to buy into. In assuming that they must to sit on the sidelines while waiting for their companion, parent, child, sibling, or good friend to lose everything, they delay the opportunity to facilitate recovery. Keep in mind that severe problem gambling is also associated with thoughts of suicide for certain populations, so every day that passes without action could lead to disastrous outcomes.
Don’t let yourself become complicit when it comes to your loved one’s relationship with gambling. To assist, we have put together a guide for How to Hold an Intervention for Loved Ones with Gambling Disorder.
Elevating Problem Gambling Rock Bottom
It’s time to raise the rock bottom on problem gambling. Kindbridge Behavioral Health has made available a short 5-minute quiz that will help you or a loved one discover whether or not gambling disorder is present, which is followed by.the provision of resources to intervene and get help, before everything is lost.
Get Immediate and Effective Problem Gambling Support
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