Five Signs You Have A Gambling Problem

Gambling addiction might not pose the same immediate health consequences as compulsive substance use but it’s not to be taken lightly. Studies suggest that as many as 10 million US citizens have an addiction to gambling. Meanwhile, in Australia, a nation known for its love of a punt, gambling stresses cause more than 400 adults to commit suicide each year.

For those living through a severe gambling addiction, life is all about seeking out the next punt. Any available money will go immediately to the fruit machines or the online casino. Loved ones and friends find themselves routinely ignored and personal relationships can quickly break down.

Winners know when to stop.

Whilst there exist more gambling awareness charities than ever before there days, players still routinely fall through the cracks. It’s cliché but one of the first steps to tackling a problem is admitting you have one. If you find any of the following points hits a little too close to home maybe you need some professional help.

Ignoring Loved Ones to be at the Tables

With the arrival of the internet, gambling has come into the home in a big way. It’s never been easier to bet on sports or play high stakes blackjack. You can do it all from your phone too.

If you find yourself making flimsy excuses to avoid spending time with your children, partner, or friends in favor of gambling, this is a classic sign that there’s a problem. Many people enjoy gambling as a way to pass the time when there’s not a lot going on. The addict will want to gamble irrespective of social commitments. 

Borrowing or Stealing from Friends or Relatives

Obviously, a gambling addiction is going to cost money. However, a serious addict is often not content with just betting their own funds. Once they bust out of their own money and have maybe sold some belongings for additional table time, the only other option is to wait until payday or to obtain cash by more illicit means.

It should go without saying but if you’re funding a gambling habit with stolen money, you definitely fall in the problem gambler category. However, earlier signs might be that you have been financing your gambling with borrowed money (either from friends or payday loan companies) or with funds from the sale of your personal belongings.

Losing Sleep Because of Gambling

Gambling addiction consumes the sufferer’s every thought. They just want to be at the tables feeling that rush of winning or losing – just gambling really. If they’ve not got some money at stake, they’re thinking about the next time they will have.

Thanks to online casinos, gamblers find it easier than ever to play lengthy sessions into the night. The thrill of the punt often seems a better way to spend time than sleeping. However, this isn’t the only way a gambling problem can affect sleep.

Money stresses – often a side product of a gambling addiction – can equally be cause for sleepless nights. So too can fighting off the urge to gamble itself. Even if you’re trying to get a healthy amount of sleep on a work night, a mind racing with debts or just lusting after the action can be enough to stop that from happening.

Those who routinely stay up far later than they should, unable to pull themselves away from the casino, certainly need to consider if their gambling is a problem in their life. Meanwhile, those that have already developed sufficient debts to keep them from sleeping should seek some form of compulsion therapy.

Trying to Hide Your Gambling

If you hide away your gambling, you might also be hiding away a gambling problem. It’s common for those suffering from compulsive disorders to not want to indulge themselves in front of others. Maybe that other person suspects a problem and has already raised the issue themselves. Or, maybe the gambler has lost so much that they’d rather keep it to themselves rather than appearing like they’re hooked. You even follow online tips thinking they will actually work.

If you disappear when you get in from work or tell your partner that you’re doing work when in reality you’re gambling, it’s quite probable that you’re amongst the millions suffering a gambling addiction. Feeling like you need to lie about what you’re doing should be a serious red flag that you need some help.  

You’ve Thought About Stopping Gambling for Good

Many people go through their entire lives enjoying the occasional punt on the football, few quid in a fruit machine, or trip to the casino. For them, there’s no question of “stopping gambling for good”. They don’t feel that they gamble with anywhere near the regularity for it to be worth even thinking about.

However, other people find themselves frequenting casinos or book makers much more often. Even if it still feels like a social occasion, there’s a very high chance that they’re feeding an addiction too. Those who still enjoy a punt but remember previously telling themselves that they’d never gamble again should also consider reaching out for help.

Gambling Responsibly

Like all vices, gambling can be great when enjoyed in moderation. A few hands of blackjack or a game of poker with friends can serve as the perfect relaxant after a stressful week at work. However, a good time can sour very quickly for a small percentage of the population.

Fortunately, support networks for those suffering a gambling addiction have come a long way since the early days of the online casino industry. Today, many charities exist to help those that feel they just have to gamble. Similarly, regulators frequently demand that online casino operators build player protections into their software. These include reality checks, deposit limits, and self-exclusion.

If after reading this article, you think you might have a gambling addiction, don’t hesitate to take advantage of this support. Gambling addiction can certainly ruin lives but it’s treatable, with help. 


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Team Parle

The collective team of Parlé Magazine. Twitter: @parlemag

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