The Warning Signs of Gambling Addiction

Gambling addiction is a complex and chronic condition that affects people differently. Some people develop a gambling problem because they crave the excitement and the break from their regular responsibilities, while others find that it helps them cope with depression or anxiety. Compulsive gambling can lead to financial ruin and strained relationships with friends and family members. It can also cause feelings of guilt and shame that impact mental health. The biggest step to recovery is recognizing that there is a problem.

The signs of gambling addiction are often subtle and easy to miss. Often, addicts will downplay or lie about their gambling behaviors. They may even resort to stealing or other illegal activities to fund their gambling habit or to recover losses. They may start to borrow money from family and friends or even revert back to using credit cards in their own name. Ultimately, their behavior will have a direct impact on their work, finances and educational opportunities.

If you notice that your friend or loved one is exhibiting any of these warning signs, it is important to speak up sooner rather than later. The earlier they receive treatment, the better their chances of overcoming the disease. Speak up about your concerns and suggest that they call a helpline, seek a mental health professional or go to Gamblers Anonymous. Remember to be non-judgmental and empathic. The more they feel heard and understood, the more likely they will be to seek help.