Recognizing the Signs of a Gambling Addiction


A person gambles by placing a bet in an attempt to win money or other prizes. Some forms of gambling are purely based on chance, while others involve skill. Regardless of the type of gambling, it can become a dangerous addiction. It is important to recognize the signs of a problem and seek treatment if you or someone you know has a gambling addiction.

Many people think that gambling is just about the money. However, there are many other reasons why people gamble. For some, it is a way to alleviate stress or depression; for others, it is a way to socialize with friends. Gambling can also trigger feelings of euphoria, which are linked to the brain’s reward system. People also enjoy the sense of achievement that comes with winning money.

While it may be tempting to try to break the habit on your own, a person with a gambling problem usually needs help from family and friends. A support group like Gamblers Anonymous can help a person regain control of their life and finances. Other treatments include individual therapy, marriage or family therapy, and financial counseling.

Problem gambling can affect people from all walks of life, but it is more common among those with lower incomes. People who start gambling as children or teenagers are also more susceptible to developing a compulsive gambling disorder. Those who have family members with gambling problems are at a higher risk, too. Vulnerability to gambling disorders is also greater in men than women.

Often, problem gamblers lie to their families and therapists about the extent of their involvement in gambling. They may also use illegal activities such as forgery, fraud, or theft to finance their gambling addiction. They may even jeopardize their career or educational opportunities in order to gamble. They may also experience a range of negative emotions including guilt, anxiety, and depression.

The most common symptom of gambling addiction is a continued urge to gamble, despite losses. A person may try to justify their gambling by using the logic that they have already lost so much money, so they deserve one last try. They may also engage in other risky behavior, such as drinking alcohol or taking up drugs, to cope with the stress of losing money. They may also become angry or aggressive when they lose. They may also attempt to recoup their losses by borrowing or spending more money, or even by committing illegal acts, such as embezzlement or forgery. A person who has a problem with gambling can be an ongoing source of conflict and distress for their loved ones.