Due to signs and symptoms that can be seen physically, it is relatively easy to recognize if someone is under drug or alcohol abuse. However, it is not as easy to identify if someone is turning into a problem gambler. Certain behavior indicates possible cases of problem gambling, and it would be best to be aware of such signs.
People with gambling problems generally try to conceal it from those around them. They lie about their addiction to their families, spouses, friends, and co-workers. They claim to be somewhere else, being unable to admit where they are actually spending all their time and money.
Problem gamblers also find themselves trying to “chase” their losses. They claim that they will stop after they win a big amount, or after they have made back all the money that they have lost in the past. They find themselves digging themselves deeper into debt, desperately hoping to hit the jackpot.
Borrowing money is another sign of problem gambling. In order to pay for their gambling debts, loans are made from family, friends, co-workers, and even strangers. Savings are taken out of the bank and personal possessions are sold. In more extreme cases, some may go as far as committing fraud or stealing in order to get some extra money for gambling.
Some people can become obsessed with their gambling. All they can think about is last time they gambled, the next time they will gamble, new strategies they can try out, and where to get the money they need in order to gamble.
Unable to control their gambling, problem gamblers are aware that it is ruining their lives, but they cannot stop, no matter how many time or monetary limits they set for themselves. They find themselves spending everything they brought with them, or staying longer than planned.
Gambling can also serve as an escape from one’s problems or negative emotions. When problem gamblers feel lonely, sad or angry, or are undergoing a lot of stress, gambling is the perfect means of forgetting about all their problems.
Such a dangerous addiction to gambling can jeopardize relationships and other aspects of the gambler’s life. It can ruin marriages, friendships, career or school performances, as well as reputations.