Around 1% of the U.S. adult population have a gambling addiction which is defined by the National Council on Problem Gambling as “increasing preoccupation with gambling, a need to bet more money more frequently, restlessness or irritability when attempting to stop, ‘chasing’ loses, and loss of control manifested by continuation of the gambling behavior in spite of mounting, serious, negative consequences.”
There are several signs that can help us identify if someone has a gambling problem:
1) They Can’t Stop
Compulsive gamblers struggle in both time and money, allowing betting to take over their lives and when they try to quit they can’t.
2) They put gambling in front of other important commitments
Someone suffering from a gambling addiction allows gambling to take priority over more and more aspects of their lives, careers crash, relationships fall apart, and any number of other serious personal and professional consequences.
3) They Take Extreme Risks To Find Money To Gamble
An empty bank account and a maxed out credit card aren’t enough to keep a pathological gambler from wanting to continue gambling. Some will borrow money, mortgage their homes, or even turn to a life of crime in order to fulfill their addictions.
4) They Gamble With Money They Can’t Afford To Lose
Gamblers with a problem don’t stop at just spending their recreational money gambling, all money can be employed: savings, college tuition for children, even mortgage or rent payments.
5) Chasing Loses
When chronic gamblers are down, they’ll attempt to gamble more to try and cover their loses. This can continue into dangerous territory (see $4).
There are plenty of signs that someone has a gambling addiction but if you or a loved one are showing any of the symptoms we’ve listed above realize that there is help available and that you don’t have to try to go through recovery alone.