Gambling may be rather acceptable in parts parts of the world but there’s no denying the risks. If you’re concerned about the amount that you or someone you care about are gambling, there are a number of warning signs of gambling addiction that you should be aware of.
According to statistics published by the Gambling Commission, almost three quarters of Brits enjoy some form of gambling; whether that’s buying a lottery ticket or having a flutter at the Grand National.
However for people with an addictive personality it’s all too easy to transition subtly from light socially-acceptable gambling to an unhealthy addiction to gambling. Gambling addicts may have trouble holding together their relationships, they may struggle with their careers and of course there are often serious financial consequences.
If you are concerned with your level of gambling then rest assured that you aren’t alone. With an alleged 0.9% of the British population now classed as “problem gamblers” it seems to be a growing problem. According to some sources the growing online gambling industry is at least partly to blame, enabling people to gamble from their computer or phone without friends and family members being aware of their problem.
However it may manifest itself, a gambling addiction is just that; an uncontrollable urge to risk money on chance events – often to the detriment of your personal life.
Warning Signs of Gambling Addiction
But how do you know whether gambling is really have a negative impact on your life? How can you be sure whether you have developed an unhealthy gambling addition? Fortunately there are some proven “red flags” that you can consider. If any of the following warning signs of gambling addiction sound familiar to you then they should set alarm bells ringing in your head and encourage you to consult a professional who can help you to beat your addiction.
An Overwhelming Drive
The most obvious sign of a compulsive gambler is just how much they like to gamble, and that they won’t let anything else get in the way of this. For example a gambling addict might feel the need to “pop down the bookies” before important occasions like family meals, weddings or birthdays. Whatever the situation, the addict will need their “fix” before they can function normally.
Having little or no money with which to gamble won’t often be enough to prevent the addict from gambling. They will often spend money earmarked for other purposes – such as paying household bills – to their habit. They may find that even a small amount of money is quickly burning a hole in their pocket. When cash gets low, they may even consider borrowing money, selling cherished objects or even criminal activities in order to fund their gambling habit.
Furthermore, in cases where a gambler suffers a significant loss, most people would give up. In contrast, a gambling addict is far more likely to want to start gambling again as soon as possible in an attempt to make up any losses they have incurred. Equally, a big win often isn’t enough to curb their enthusiasm; instead it’s simply proof of the possibilities and many addicts rapidly lose all their winnings by rolling it into new bets.
Gambling For Pleasure
Another symptom of a gambling addiction is whether you derive real pleasure from the process of gambling. Many addicts can think of nothing better after a hard day at work than rewarding themselves with a gamble.
Gambling can also form part of a “coping mechanism” for emotionally charged everyday situations. A particularly stressful experience, for example, may be enough to start thinking about having a flutter. Whether or not you actually end up making a bet of any form, it’s important to realize that when you default behaviour in these situations is to have a gamble, you may well be experiencing some form of gambling addiction.
Most of the population who likes an occasional gamble will go for days or even weeks without gambling. They just have a flutter when they’re in the mood or the opportunity presents itself. After all, there are far bigger priorities in life such as your career or family.
However one of the notable themes among those addicted to gambling is that their priorities have an unfortunate habit of changing. Without care, your gambling can start to move up the list of priorities while other formerly important aspects of life are now expected to take more of a back seat.
Having a gamble may slowly become more important than household chores, spending time with your family or performing well at work.
If you are in any doubt after reading about these warning signs of gambling addiction and feel you may be suffering from some form of gambling addition then you are strongly advised to speak to a councillor or other medical professional to help you diagnose and treat any addiction.
It is generally far harder to kick your addiction without any help, while those who deal regularly with addicts will have far more experience in how best to help you through your addiction and come out the other side as a well-balanced and reformed former gambler.