A person is classified as a compulsive gambler when they are unable to stop gambling. This compulsive gambling has numerous consequences, affecting a persons work, friendships, and even marriages. Often, the only way to keep their impulses in check is to gamble more.
While this is a gambling news site, we would be remiss if we did not address the darker side of gambling. Part of that is helping you to identify compulsive gambling.
Compulsive Gambling Symptoms
Here are some symptoms of compulsive gambling to help you identify potential problems in those you care about, or even yourself.
– Most Social Interaction Revolves Around Gambling
A compulsive gambler is so obsessed with gambling that it invades every part of their life. They are often constantly talking about gambling experiences to anyone that will listen to them. They also talk about gambling schemes, how much they can win, the best places to gamble, and more.
Talking about gambling isn’t necessarily a sign of compulsive gambling, but when it dominates the majority of one’s conversations, that’s a sign.
– Gambles All the Time and Cannot or Won’t Stop Gambling
Compulsive gamblers will continue gambling, and often are not doing so to try to win money. Instead, they are doing so for the rush or thrill received. The compulsive gambler generally gambles for much longer than they expected.
Also, a compulsive gambler will have difficulty giving up gambling. Some may have even tried on multiple occasions to stop but are unable to control themselves. They may develop mood swings, become restless, or exhibit other withdrawal symptoms associated with addiction.
– Lives a Life of Lies
At some point, a compulsive gambler will start living a cycle of lies. They will lie to friends and family about their gambling habits and about how much they win or lose. When confronted about their gambling, they become defensive and continue lying to cover up their activities. They may even become hostile toward those confronting them.
– Has Financial Difficulties
Most compulsive gamblers develop financial problems. Some are deeply in debt with some having multiple loans and mortgages. Often, they are unable to meet their financial obligations and have to rely on friends and family to help bail them out.
What’s worse, the money they borrow from their friends and family is often used to finance their gambling habits. In some cases, compulsive gamblers may turn to crime to get money to fuel their addiction. This ranges from petty theft to embezzlement, fraud, and more.
– Life Spiraling Out of Control
When compulsive gambling is at its worst, people start to self-implode. This can result in the loss of a job, loss of friendships, or even divorce. Compulsive gamblers then fall into a pit of shame and despair and some may even attempt suicide as a way out. These people often have difficulty in asking for help and will let everything fall apart around them rather than get the help they need.
There is a Way Out From Compulsive Gambling
If you or someone you know has a problem with compulsive gambling, there is help available. There are numerous online and inpatient facilities that offer counseling and guidance in recovering from compulsive gambling. A list of these is available from the National Council on Problem Gambling’s, website.
Also, if you are looking to take proactive steps to prevent problem gambling, all live and online casinos offer self-exclusion lists which means you will be added to the list of prohibited players and blocked from playing at those casinos.
If the compulsive gambler is a friend or loved one, we encourage you to reach out to that person and ask them if they would like help. You can provide assistance in helping them get the help they need. Sometimes, they just need someone in their corner, but are too afraid to ask for help.
Compulsive gambling is an addiction just as powerful and dangerous as any illegal drug, but it is also treatable. By looking out for the symptoms listed above, you can help someone identify potential compulsive behavior and help them get the help they need before their lives goes spiraling out of control.