The Signs

Symptoms of Gambling Addiction

It is mainly men who cannot stop gambling, but many women also find themselves unable to quit. In this article, we will call the gambler “he” but it could just as easily read “she.”

1. Preoccupied With Gambling
The gambler who cannot put a stop to gambling will walk, talk and breathe gambling. He will tell stories of previous big wins, often exaggerating the size of the jackpot. He will regularly corner others, telling anybody who will listen, about his latest scheme, or his unbeatable strategy. He will usually use more than one form of gambling, being unable to stop gambling online, at the track, or on the pokies. Even bingo and the lottery hold him spell-bound. He loses interest in his normal activities and hobbies, instead of becoming increasingly obsessed with gambling.

2. More And More
Just as a drug addict needs an ever-increasing supply of drugs to achieve the same high, so a gambling addict finds himself getting more and more – not for greater winnings, but to obtain the same kick and level of excitement as before.

3. Can’t Stop

Even if he wanted to, the problem gambler is powerless to quit gambling. He becomes impatient and irritable when trying to even cut back. For the gambler, betting is a method of escaping problems, or relieving stress.

4. The Cover-Up

The gambler lies to family and friends – and sometimes even to himself – about the amount being gambled in order to hide his dependency. At the same time, he brags and exaggerates the size of winnings. When confronted, he denies having a problem at all, and he becomes angry if the subject is pursued. The lies become a way of life. He withdraws from family and friends and even lies about his whereabouts while gambling.

5. Dependent

The gambler will start relying on others to bail him out of financial crises. He regularly borrows from family and friends until their goodwill has been used up and they refuse to lend him any more – at least until he repays what he already owes them – and that doesn’t happen, although the gambler genuinely intends to repay everybody once he wins that elusive jackpot. After using up friends and family, mortgages and loans are refinanced. Bills remain unpaid. Life assurance is cashed in. The gambler may even start committing fraud and thefts to finance his gambling addiction.

6. Self Destructive

The gambler’s career is jeopardized, and relationships with family and friends become eroded as his obsession with gambling escalates. He feels a tremendous amount of shame and guilt after
gambling the grocery money yet again and he will consider, or even attempt, suicide because he feels so helpless and useless.

7. Losing Control

The gambler’s personality gradually changes. He can become controlling of those around him because he himself is out of control. He can be bad-tempered, contrary, fault-finding and manipulative. He blames everyone else for his financial problems, refusing to take responsibility for his own actions.

8. No Sense Of Time

The problem gambler tends to gamble even during times of celebration and special events. He spends his time gambling while on holiday, and during times of crisis to make himself feel better. Inevitably, he spends more time gambling than he originally planned.

9. Denial

Below are two examples of powerful flawed ways of thinking that results in a gambler to hold false beliefs that do not provide the outcome they imagined in the first place and keeps them on the ground.

The Monte Carlo Delusion
The Hot Hand Lie
The Monte Carlo Delusion

Earliest signs of flawed reasoning would generally include the gamblers fallacy. The mistaken belief that, if something happens more frequently than normal during a given period, it will happen less frequently in the future. It may also be stated as the belief that, if something happens less frequently than normal during a given period, it will happen more frequently in the future. This is a sure way to start your journey down the rabid pit of addiction.

The Hot Hand Lie

Another mistaken belief that a person who experiences a successful outcome with a random event has a greater probability of success in further attempts. This is simply a lie. If you were lucky yesterday your chances of being lucky tomorrow or any other day in the future are not greater or even equal to that of previous attempt. To see through this initial stages of denial is a good step in taking control of yourself.