Between 2 to 5 percent of American adults are affected by some form of a gambling addiction. It could be playing lotto, buying lottery tickets or frequently going to the casino. If an individual’s desire to gamble means that they end up spending money they don’t have to spend, or borrow to gamble, then it could be a sign of a gambling addiction.
Often referred to as a hidden addiction, a compulsion to gamble can nevertheless lead to problems like losing one’s job, family issues, loss of material possessions like a house or a car, financial problems and more.
Defining a Gambling Addiction
An addiction to gambling is more than just a desire to scratch a ticket or play the slots once in a while. However, when that desire turns to compulsion, until the individual can’t stop thinking about it and must take action, then that means there’s a problem. A compulsive desire to gamble, characterized with an inability to control one’s behavior while gambling can be classed as a gambling addiction.
An individual addicted to gambling will behave out of character. They may steal money from family or friends to indulge their addiction, or participate in other illegal activities in an attempt to get more money to continue to gamble, or to pay of their debts.
The Signs of a Gambling Addiction
Because there are no physical signs of a gambling addiction, it can be easily missed. An individual’s gambling problem can go unnoticed for years before the signs can become plain for others to see, even family and close friends. Most of the time individuals with a gambling addiction are able to control their behavior. It is when their family or friends see them in an environment when they are gambling that the extent of the addiction is revealed.
The following are some of the signs of a gambling addiction:
- Frequent visits to a casino
- Playing the lotto
- Gambling online
- Avoiding family and work obligations
- Avoiding family and friends who have voiced their concerns about a possible gambling addiction
- Financial hardships
- Stealing money to gamble or pay debts
- Selling possessions to continue gambling
- Denying one’s actions
Individuals with a gambling addiction often feel they have no control over their desire to gamble. It becomes harder and harder for them to walk away from a game or the slots. Such an individual may feel compelled to keep gambling down to the last penny in an effort to win. Despite all the problems that a gambling addiction causes in the individual’s life, they just can’t seem to stop.
Recovery is hard work but you don’t have to do it alone. Call The Villa to find out how we can support your goals for sober living.