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What is a Gambling Addiction?

Have you ever gambled? Maybe not in Las Vegas, but even at a small, local casino, during a game with some friends or even online. Some people maintain a neutral stance when it comes to gambling, others are in favor of it, and others are strongly against it. However, while gambling is harmless fun for many people, it can also be a great problem for others. The compulsive behavior that makes it a problem for some people is often referred to as “problem gambling.” This is a progressive addiction that can have many negative ­­physical, social and psychological repercussions. Problem gambling is classified as an impulse-control disorder.

Sufferers of this addiction can experience distress, depression, migraines, intestinal disorders, and various other problems and symptoms associated with anxiety. As seen with other addictions, it can also lead to the feelings of despondency and helplessness. And in some cases, it can even lead to suicide attempts if the anxiety, depression and overall pressure just become too much.

How do you know if someone has a gambling addiction?

While the symptoms might slightly vary from a drug or alcohol addiction, there are still visible signs that someone is suffering from a gambling addiction. They might:

  • Feel and/or express the need to gamble with increasing amounts of money
  • Act restless or irritable when they have to stop gambling
  • Have previously attempted to stop, control or reduce their gambling but were unsuccessful
  • Gamble when feeling distressed
  • Lie to conceal their gambling addiction
  • Continue to return to gambling even after losing money
  • Depend on others to provide money to feed their gambling addiction
  • Experience work or relationship problems due to their gambling habits

All of these symptoms could demonstrate that someone is suffering with a gambling addiction. Someone could experience or display some or all of these symptoms.

The onset of this gambling problem could be due to several things including stress, retirement, traumatic circumstances, the presence of other addictions, or other outside environmental factors such as friends with similar habits or just an abundance of available opportunities. Studies have suggested that people who already suffer from one addiction may be at risk of developing another addiction. And other studies have suggested that the use of some medications might be linked to a higher risk of compulsive gambling.

Addiction is present in many different forms – and gambling is just one of those. As stated before, addiction to one thing is risky, but it can also increase your risk of developing a second or third addiction, which is even worse. It is important that you monitor signs of addiction both in yourself and in those around you. Sometimes it takes someone pointing it out for you (or someone else) to truly realize they have a problem.

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