Over 80% of adults play at least once a year and, for the most part, it is a harmless form of entertainment. For 1%, however, casino gambling is not a pleasure and becomes a serious problem.
Problem gambling occurs when gambling begins to interfere with and damage any aspect of life, including from a psychological, physical, social or professional point of view. There are seven main warning signs a person may exhibit if they have gambling disorder, but accurate diagnosis can only be made by a trained professional.
Many problem gamblers start gambling at a young age, but gambling addiction such as drug and alcohol addiction can affect people of all races, economic backgrounds, and genders. A gambler wagers on any game, sometimes he even places bets on normal daily activities.
1 – Concern
A constant obsession with gambling is one of the simplest ways to notice a gambling addiction. Reliving past triumphs and failures in the game, always planning the next excursion, and continually thinking about how to get more money to play are some examples of concern.
2 – Escalation
Problem gamblers have similar physical reactions to an abused drug. Symptoms are for example increased heart rate and dissociation from reality. As with drugs, a tolerance for the amount of money wagered will develop.
To reach this “level”, a problem gambler will have to wager higher and higher amounts of money to achieve the desired effect.
You play until the last penny. Many problem gamblers end up in severe financial difficulties and rely on others for the money they need for their gambling addiction. In severe cases, problem gamblers break the law to finance their habit.
3 – Trying to Quit
A problem gambler may try to control or quit gambling but will not be able to. Multiple unsuccessful attempts to quit are an alarming sign of a disturbance.
Gambling addicts such as drug addicts become restless, irritable, and angry at times when they try to control or stop their gambling habits.
4 – Escape
While gambling addiction may appear to be related to the pursuit of pleasure, the source of an addiction is to compensate for or cover up a loss or pain. A problem gambler will use addiction as a way to forget or escape pain.
Emotional pain can make a person feel numb and block other emotions. Gambling and other addictive behaviors cause excitement and pleasure that make a person go into a hustle and bustle and escape from numbness.
5 – Chasing
When someone tries to recoup their losses by playing more, this is called “chasing”. The problem gambler will fixate on trying to recover lost money but will have bigger financial problems.
6 – Lying
Lying to friends and family about time and money is a definite nuisance.
Problem gamblers sometimes feel guilty about lying about where they’ve been or how they spent the money. The guilt adds to the emotional pain and can, in turn, lead to increased gambling to allay the guilt.
7 – Alienation
When gambling begins to alienate a person from his friends, family or career, it is a clear sign that that person is in trouble. Problem gamblers continue to gamble despite risking or losing relationships or things that are meaningful to their life such as school or career.