Gambling Addiction Signs You Can’t Ignore

Calendar icon Last Updated: 06/6/2024

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Gambling can be a fun hobby, but many people don’t do it too often. There are lots of different types of gambling, whether its betting on horses, playing online poker, or playing the slots at a casino. Some people get carried away with their gambling though, and it can be very harmful to others as well as to themselves. Here are some addiction signs that you can’t ignore if they apply to you or to a loved one.

Two Types of Gambling Addictions

Although many types of gambling exist, there are two types of gambling addictions. According to the DBHDD, the gamblers who exhibit addiction signs are:

Gambling Addiction Signs

Risky gambling behavior is a sign of a problem.

Problem gamblers

  • These gamblers are usually in the “preliminary stage of pathology.”
  • They have risky behaviors when it comes to gambling.
  • Their gambling affects their relationships as well as their “jobs and financial security.”

Pathological gamblers

  • This is a “recognized psychiatric diagnosis” (NIH).
  • They exhibit “persistent and recurrent maladaptive gambling behavior” (DBHDD).
  • This behavior affects nearly everything in their lives: work, home life, finances, and overall attitude.

Individuals in the problem stage can be much easier to help. Those in the pathological stage are more difficult, as at this point, their gambling has become compulsive. They do not even think about the issues it causes anymore.

Behavioral Gambling Addiction Signs

The NLM lists several behavioral signs of gambling addiction. These are signs of a severe problem:

  • “Lying about gambling”
  • “Spending work or family time gambling”
  • “Gambling with money you need for other things”
  • Gambling compulsively, or having an irresistible urge to gamble
  • Becoming angry or irritable when someone asks about your gambling

These are classic signs of addiction. If a person continues with a behavior, knowing full well it is detrimental, he or she is suffering from an addiction.

Psychological Gambling Addiction Signs

Any addiction causes highs and lows in a person, and gambling addiction is no exception. According to the NLM, here are some psychological signs of gambling addiction:

  • “Feeling bad after you gamble, but not quitting”
  • Feeling guilty for spending time away from your family or hurting them, but not quitting
  • “Always thinking about gambling”
  • Believing that gambling is not a problem for you, or avoiding thinking about how much time and money you actually spend on gambling

Gambling addiction does become a compulsion, and it is easier not to think about it than it is to soberly consider the repercussions of gambling on your life.

Problems Caused by Gambling Addiction

Here are some of the problems caused by gambling addiction. If you recognize these in your life, your addiction has already become severe:

  • A disproportionate amount of your funds goes to gambling.
  • You cannot pay for things you need because you spent the money on gambling.
  • You owe money to others that you cannot pay back because you borrowed it in order to gamble.
  • You have been fired, evicted, and/or an important relationship has ended because of your gambling.

Gambling addiction can be just as detrimental to your relationships, work life, and finances as any drug addiction. Consider your life and whether or not these apply to you. If they do, seek treatment and you will soon start on your way to recovery.