If you’re preoccupied with casino or online wagering, consider the signs of gambling addiction to determine if an addiction recovery program is in order.
More than 2 million adults in the United States are considered compulsive gamblers, while up to 8 million have a gambling problem, according to the Keeping the Score website. Although an occasional trip to a casino or a sports bet with friends may be harmless, exhibiting signs of gambling addiction may indicate that the pastime has become an addiction that can affect your finances, personal relationships and professional life.
Feeling the Need to Bet
Compulsive gamblers not only feel the urge to wager because they enjoy gambling, but also use betting as a diversion from work, a stress reliever or an escape from relationship problems. If you suspect you’re addicted to gambling, consider keeping a journal to jot down the times you gamble, how you were feeling before you placed a bet and how you felt after. If you’re using gambling as an escape from “real life,” you may benefit from an addiction recovery program.
Boosting your Bets
Signs of gambling addiction may include increasing the actual amount that you’re betting. Whether you suffer from an online gambling addiction, bet on sporting events or visit a local casino, you may find yourself not only making larger wagers to feel a bigger “thrill,” but also increasing your bets in the hopes of scoring big to make up for past losses.
Lying about a Gambling Addiction
Attempts to cover up a trip to the casino, race track or a session of online wagering may indicate compulsive gambling. If you stay up after your family has gone to bed to gamble online in private, claim to be working late when you’re actually at a casino or devise ways to leave the house so you can gamble, you may be addicted to gambling.
Controlling the Finances
If you’re married, you may be exhibiting a compulsive gambling symptom if you insist on controlling the family finances. You may use this tactic so you’re able to move money between your accounts, pay bills late or lie about the amount you’ve paid toward the bills so you can cover up the amount of money you’ve lost gambling. Preventing your significant other from scrutinizing your financial situation may also keep others from realizing that you’re gambling away money that your family can’t afford to spend.
Ignoring Previous Interests
Putting opportunities to gamble before opportunities to interact with friends and family members may be a symptom of gambling addiction. Take note if you miss appointments, turn down invitations, make excuses to be alone or would rather gamble than spend time with loved ones. If you’re a problem gambler, you may also have trouble concentrating or ignore others because you’re thinking about a previous gambling loss or planning your next gambling excursion.
Seek Help for Gambling Addiction
If you recognize that you or someone you love exhibits signs of gambling addiction, consult a mental health professional or physician. The Mayo Clinic notes that it’s particularly important to consult a professional about gambling addiction counseling or an addiction recovery treatment plan if your family repeatedly expresses concern about your compulsive gambling, you’ve tried to stop gambling on your own and failed or you repeatedly borrow or steal money to cover your losses.