Watch for the Signs
A gambling addict may become involved with the behavior initially for one of two reasons. Some enjoy the euphoric thrill of the risks and action, while others use gambling to help manage emotional or psychological problems. The signs and symptoms of gambling addiction reflect these situations.
How does one know if he has a problem with gambling addiction? The following criteria will help evaluate the problem:
He will be preoccupied with gambling, talking excessively about his wins or making plans for his next gambling outing.
He will require more and more money to bet to arouse the same level of excitement.
He will try to control or stop the behavior, but be unable to succeed.
Withdrawal symptoms such as irritability and restlessness will appear when he tries to stop the behavior.
He will use gambling to relieve emotional distress or to escape unpleasant life situations.
His gambling will escalate as he tries to win back lost money.
He will use lies and deception to cover his gambling addiction.
He may participate in illegal or criminal acts to fund his gambling.
He will borrow money from friends and family, even illegal sources, to cover his gambling debts.
Gambling will dominate his life, taking precedence over family, friends, and career.
As you can see, among other signs, tolerance and withdrawal are as much a part of gambling addiction as other addictions. Gambling addiction is not simply a problem with managing one's entertainment money. It is an uncontrollable obsession that impacts all areas of one's life.
Other behaviors surrounding gambling that may indicate a problem include feeling remorseful or guilty after gambling. Someone may use his paycheck to pay gambling debts instead of the mortgage or phone bill. He may find that he's spent more time gambling than he intended. A gambling addict may find he's losing sleep or can't eat because of preoccupation with gambling.
Even though he may have set a monetary limit for himself before going gambling, he finds he overspends until his last dollar is gone. Without a doubt, when gambling reaches the point of addiction, complications will appear. Loss of family and friends, legal problems, financial problems, difficulties with school or one's job, and the development of other addictions or mental health disorders signal a need for professional help.