Gambling Addiction Symptoms

Kathleen Esposito
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Symptoms List for Gambling Addiction

Many people engage in gambling, either online, in person at a casino or at sporting events. Unfortunately, the practice can become addicting.

Not everyone that gambles has a problem, but there are some symptoms to look out for if you are concerned about your own or someone else's behavior. Click on the "More Details" box at the bottom of the following slides to learn more about each symptom.

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Preoccupying Thoughts of Gambling

Just like with any other addiction, a compulsive gambler will think about the "drug" when not using. He or she will spend a lot of time reminiscing about gambling and planning for the next gambling episode.

Gambling may not even be about winning or losing for an addict; it may simply be about being able to continue the behavior.

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Irritable Behavior When Not Gambling

The addictive gambler may become irritable when not gambling. Gambling creates a rush and excitement that the person feels is a necessity, whether winning or losing.

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Gambling More to Get the Same Rush

Addictive gamblers constantly set aside gambling money and ask to borrow money without ever repaying it. They will sacrifice basic needs, such as rent and groceries, to have more money to spend on their habit.

They need to constantly increase the amount they spend to create the same "rush" as when they initially started gambling

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Chasing Losses

While most gamblers will call it a day if they see themselves on a losing streak, the compulsive gambler will see this as a reason to continue to gamble more, putting himself or herself on a constant debt rollercoaster.

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Stealing to Fund the Habit

Stealing and other criminal acts are further gambling addiction symptoms. A person might steal money from friends, co-workers or loved ones to fuel the addiction or steal items of value and sell them for cash to use for gambling.

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People who only gamble occasionally rarely see the need to lie about their behavior. The compulsive gambler tends to lie to family, therapists, bosses and others. He or she feels ashamed of the habit and the inability to cut back.

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Help Is Available

Despite the difficulty of having a gambling addiction, there is hope for overcoming it. The right tools, such as therapy, support groups, intervention, medication and avoiding triggers can turn a person's life back around in time.

Learn more about treatment for gambling addiction.

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Gambling Addiction Symptoms