A gambling addiction (sometimes called pathological gambling, gambling disorder, or compulsive gambling) is an impulse-control disorder. Compulsive gamblers cannot control the impulse to gamble, despite the negative consequences on their lives and the lives of their families. A gambling addiction can put a strain on relationships, work, and lead to financial disaster. Various factors can contribute to a gambling addiction, and once a strong addiction takes hold, breaking free from the desire to gamble can be difficult. Free by the Sea Sunset View Drug & Alcohol Recovery Center can help.
What Causes a Gambling Addiction?
The most common factors contributing to a gambling addiction include:
- Desperation for money
- Desperation to be seen as successful
- The atmosphere of the gambling scene
- Desire to experience thrills
- Losses in casual gambling
Gambling addictions usually start small and grow into an unhealthy habit. Betting on sporting events, horse or dog racing, poker games, slot machines, and the lottery are common ways that a gambling addiction can begin. One big win is often enough to keep a casual or infrequent gambler coming back for more. A gambling addiction can quickly become a costly vice, emotionally, physically, and financially.
What Are Some of the Signs of a Gambling Problem?
Gambling addictions share signs with other common addictions. The signs of a gambling addiction include:
- Feeling a need to hide the addiction
- Expressed concern from family and friends
- Funding the addiction with money that doesn’t exist
- Having trouble controlling habits and impulses to feed the addiction
As with most addictions, the most telling sign of a gambling problem is the inability to stop. The desire to try to win just one more time to cure the urge, as well as feeling anxious upon the thought of quitting the “game” are signs of a serious gambling addiction.
Symptoms of Excessive Gambling
Gambling addicts may experience symptoms, both emotionally and physically. Excessive or addictive gambling causes and enhances multiple emotional symptoms such as:
- Suicidal thoughts
- Suicidal tendencies
Since gambling can contribute to and cause depression, anxiety, and self-harm, there are also physical symptoms to be aware of:
- Sleep deprivation
- Weight gain or loss
- Dark circles under the eyes
- Pale skin
Free by the Sea encourages those suffering from a gambling addiction – or those who know someone suffering from a gambling addiction – in the Pacific Northwest, including Washington (Vancouver), Oregon (Portland), Alaska and surrounding areas to contact us for guidance and assistance.