Gambling has become a nationwide addiction. Most Americans don’t realize the effect it has on ones family, friends, and social life. Problem gambling, otherwise known as ludomania, is one’s urge to gamble not caring about any consequences or having any desire to stop. Problem gambling is defined by whether harm is experienced by the gambler or others. In most compulsive gamblers, harm in one way or another is always experienced for both the gambler and others. Problem gambling is the first stage of a gambling addiction, very easily and most often suddenly progressing to pathological gambling. Pathological gambling can cause one to go into many manic episodes, causing harm on one’s self and upon others as well.
A gambling addiction can be spotted through varies symptoms that manifest in the addict.
Preoccupation with Thoughts About Gambling and Loss of Control Over Behaviors
Usually the addict will become preoccupied with thoughts surrounding gambling and ways to obtain many to engage in his addiction. He is haunted by frequent thoughts revolving around his past, present and future gambling experiences. This can become all he talks about with others because the obsession is so strong.
The inability to stop or cut back on gambling is a sign of a gambling addiction. If the gambler says he is going to cut back and honestly makes an effort with little to no success, this can be a big red flag.
Tolerance to Gambling and Withdrawals
The addict will most likely have to wager more and more money each time he engages in his gambling addiction in order to get the same rush that he got in the beginning. This is a common sign of any addiction, and occurs in gamblers as well.
In many cases the gambler will become angry, restless and irritable when he takes time off from gambling, or when something or someone gets in the way of his gambling routine. This is known as a withdrawal effect.
Lying to Cover Up Gambling Behavior and Jeopordizing Relationships
When someone begins to lie and be deceptive about his gambling behavior, it is usually because he feels shame and remorse around his actions. This feeling of guilt can be a common sign of a gambling addiction.
If loved ones give the problem gambler an ultimatum regarding his gambling, threatening to end the relationship if he doesn’t stop, and he still continues to gamble despite these circumstances, it shows that he probably has no control of his gambling.
Frequently Borrowing Money/ Acting Out Illegally
When the suspected addict is continuing to go to family members and friends asking to borrow money, this could be a sign of a gambling problem.
Committing crimes in order to obtain money to gamble or pay off gambling debts is a sign that his gambling is getting out of control. Run-ins with the police, finding stashes of money around the house or having to bail him out of jail shows that something is wrong and his gambling is getting out of control.
Consequences of a Gambling Addiction
When one becomes in debt as a result of gambling he/she may start to seek out money using any resources possible, entertaining ideas about stealing or sometimes selling drugs for money. One usually engages in these acts in a last ditch-effort to engage in his addiction. A gambler who does not receive the proper treatment may turn to suicide for an escape from their addiction. This kind of behavior would be considered self abuse. Abuse is also common in the gambler’s household. This kind of addiction could lead to bigger problems for the people he is closest to in such a situation. Growing up in this kind of environment can lead to improper emotional developments and even the possibility of a young one picking up on the addiction as he gets older.
A gambling addiction is a serious problem, and if it is suspected it should be addressed immediately. There are many psychological and physical aspects to the disease of addiction, and they need to be treated by professionals who are experienced addiction counselors. There is a large selection of help available for the gambling addict. Talk to a doctor immediately to get help.