What are the symptoms of a gambling addiction?
Gambling addiction is sometimes referred to as a “hidden disease” because there are no obvious physical signs or symptoms like drug or alcohol addiction. Problem gamblers usually deny or minimize the problem - even for themselves. However, you could have a gambling problem if you:
Feel the need to be secretive about your gambling activities. You secretly gamble or lie about how much you gamble, feeling that others will not understand or that you will surprise them with a big win.
Having trouble controlling your gambling activities? Once you start gambling, can you walk away and quit? Or are you forced to keep going until you've spent the last dollar, increasing your bets to reclaim lost money?
Also gamble when you have no money for it. You gamble until you've spent the last dollar and then move on to the money you need to pay for bills, credit cards, or things for your kids. You may feel compelled to borrow, sell, or even steal things in order to gamble.
Have family and friends who are worried. Denial perpetuates the gambling problem. If friends and family are concerned, listen to them carefully. It's not a sign of weakness to ask for help. Many older gamblers have a hard time calling their grown children when they gamble their inheritance, but it's never too late to change.