The Signs and Symptoms of Gambling Addiction

If you think you may be addicted to gambling, symptoms include:

  • Feeling that you have to hide your gambling from people who know and care about you
  • Don’t feel that you can walk away once you’ve started gambling
  • Even after long periods of losing, commonly telling yourself that you just need one good bet to get back on the winning path
  • Gamble with money that you don’t actually have (loans, pawning belongings, maxing out credit cards, etc.)
  • Have been told by friends or family members that they’re worried about your gambling

If you think a loved one may have a gambling addiction, signs include:

  • Instant defensiveness when you even try to talk to them about gambling
  • Showing up late or not at all for social obligations or work
  • If you’re their spouse, unaccounted money missing from your joint accounts; if you’re a friend or family member, pleas for loans that include elaborate stories you’re convinced aren’t true

How is This Condition Treated?

As with other forms of addiction, there isn’t a cure for this condition. Although that may sound like bad news for people who have an addiction to gambling, treatment can help someone cope with their impulses and get their life back on the right track.

Treatment begins with attending support meetings. By becoming part of a support group, an individual struggling with addiction can learn strategies for coping with their condition. In some cases, in-patient treatment may be an addict’s best option.

What Can You Do to Help a Loved One?

If someone you care about is struggling with a gambling addiction, they need experienced help and support. The ideal scenario is being able to approach your loved in a non-confrontational manner and have them agree that they should start attending a support group. In the fairly common event that your discussion doesn’t go as planned, you may need to enlist a professional to help you convince your loved one that they have a real problem and going to their first support meeting is the only way to start living the live they deserve.

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