Gambling addiction signs and symptoms include the willingness to risk something you value in hopes of getting something of even greater value.
The Mayo Clinic defines compulsive gambling as an overwhelming urge to gamble no matter the repercussions of doing so – and as many have realized, gambling addiction is a life-ruining dilemma.
Gambling can stimulate the brain’s reward system, much like drugs and alcohol can, leading to addiction. If you’re susceptible to compulsive gambling, you may endlessly chase bets, tell lies, use up savings, accumulate debt, and even resort to crime just to fuel your addiction.
Common Gambling Addiction Signs and Symptoms
The gambling addiction signs and symptoms are often the same as the signs of other addictions. Common ones include, but are not limited to, the following:
1. Finding it necessary to keep gambling a secret. You might gamble in faraway places or lie about how much you gamble, feeling like others won’t understand, or that you will surprise them with a big win.
2. Having difficulties resisting the urge to gamble. Once you start gambling, you feel that you can’t just walk away. You feel the need to gamble until you’ve spent everything in your pocket, gradually upping your bets in a bid to win back lost money.
3. Gambling when you cannot afford to. A red flag is when you are getting more and more desperate to recoup your losses. You may gamble until you’ve spent almost everything, eventually moving on to the money you shouldn’t throw away on vices – money for settling debts, bills, and other important things. You may feel pushed to borrow, sell, or even steal things for gambling money. It’s a vicious cycle. You may sincerely believe that gambling more money is the only way to win lost money back. But it only puts you further and further in the hole.
4. Your friends and family express concern about your gambling. Denial keeps gambling addiction’s signs and symptoms going. If friends and family are worried, listen to them carefully. Take a hard look at how gambling is affecting your life. It’s not a sign of weakness to ask for help – it’s never too late to make changes for the better.
Of course, as with any other addiction, the hallmark signs and symptoms are topped with the feeling that you cannot stop. If you feel like you need to try just one more time, or if you feel anxious when you think about quitting, it is highly likely you are suffering from a gambling addiction.
How to Get Help