Understanding Signs of Gambling Addiction

Gambling addiction can cause serious disruptions in a person’s life and could lead to the loss of a job, breakdown in relationships or even committing a crime in order to fund a habit. Physical, psychological, vocational and social problems can all arise from pathological gambling and this progressive addiction is one that needs to be addressed seriously and in the correct manner.
A sign of gambling addiction may not at first be obvious to outsiders or even family members, but over time an addict will slip up and cracks will begin to show. The negative consequences of pathological gambling can have a far reaching effect and if you know how to spot the signs you can assist someone who may be struggling with what is considered to be a very real disease.

Assessing Addiction

The American Psychiatric Association defines gambling addiction as a recurrent and persistent problem that leads to distress or clinical impairment. A list of the different factors that could be a sign of gambling addiction is used as reference to determine whether a person is a pathological gambler. If 4 of the following symptoms are identified over a year period then the diagnosis is confirmed.

  1. The need to continually increase the amount of money gambled in order to achieve the same thrills.
  2. Irritability, restlessness or anxiety when unable to gamble for any period of time.
  3. Inability to cut back on gambling or resist the urge.
  4. Gambling to feel better or as a mood enhancer.
  5. Consistently chasing losses.
  6. Run up gambling debts or lying about circumstances in the attempt to borrow money.
  7. Being obsessed with gambling and unable to focus on anything else.
  8. Lying to conceal the amount of time or money spent gambling
  9. Despite being in a desperate financial situation still spending all available funds on gambling or going into debt to fund play.
  10. Loss of a job or breakdown of a relationship due to gambling.

All of these behaviours are a sign of gambling addiction and if not treated they can lead to serious events with dire consequences.

Additional Sign of Gambling Addiction Indicators

Another tool that is used across the globe to determine whether someone has a gambling addiction or disorder is the SOGS (South Oaks Gambling Screen) philosophy. If someone fulfils just one of these criteria it could be a sign of gambling addiction:

  • Gambling more than intended on a regular basis
  • Hiding betting slips, lottery tickets and any other signs of gambling.
  • The gambler feels guilty about playing but cannot stop.
  • The gambler feels guilty about their habit but doesn’t want anyone else to be aware of it.
  • Friends, family or colleagues suggest that a person has a gambling addiction or notice the issues their activities are causing.
  • The gambler borrows money but does not repay it, or lies about when they will.
  • Time off work or avoiding social situations is becoming a regular occurrence due to gambling activities.
  • Arguments over money are becoming more frequent and unexplained losses are occurring.

If you have spotted a sign of gambling addiction in yourself or in someone close to you it’s always best to get help as soon as possible. Responsible gambling is promoted heavily online and there are several measures you can take to get your gambling under control.