What are warning signs that may indicate a problem?
Most people who gamble do so with no harmful effects to themselves or others. They set limits to the amounts they are willing to spend and abide to them while entertaining themselves online. However, for some, gambling can become more than a game, and lead to serious consequences for both the player and their family. Here you will find some of the warning signs which become more apparent as the problem increases.
Lying to yourself and to others is one of the greatest tells in gambling assessment and a huge sign something is not right. Gamblers do not believe they have a problem initially and they try to justify it to themselves first and them to their families, friends and co-workers.
2. “Chasing” their losses
For those of you familiar with the expression “down on their luck” this is how a gambler feels about their financial losses, they believe their luck will change at any given time and they will be able to recuperate what their lost by winning big, after that they intend to stop. Or that they lost because they changed strategies or were not lucky. But when they chase their losses, they end up piling up even more losses, and often debts.
3. Borrowing money
What do pathological gamblers do when gambling puts them into a financial hole? They borrow—from their family, friends, co-workers, or even strangers, without always admitting the real reason they need the money. They may also have other people pay their gambling debts. They may max out their credit cards or take out a second mortgage.
4. Always wanting to bet more
Think of individuals drugs or alcohol abuse issues, problem gamblers have to increase the challenge of gambling to enjoy it. In other words, they have to bet more and more money to get the kind of rush they want. Unfortunately, the more they bet, the more they lose, and these patterns are now identifiable by most companies.
5. Obsession with gambling
When this happens, gamblers cannot stop thinking about the last time they gambled and the next time they will. Any reason is reason enough to go gambling, and they will try any strategy to get the money they need. If they had a bad day at work, a fight with a loved one, even bad traffic is an excuse to give themselves a few minutes of relaxation (in their minds they deserve it right?)
6. Neglecting family because of gambling
Many problem gamblers know they should not gamble as much, they know they are causing harm to themselves and others but they simply cannot quit, the urge to play is greater than their willpower and it pushes them deeper into seclusion. Families are usually the closes pain points in this situation, they do not know and do not see into the problem, the gambler lies to protect their “world” on both the time and money they spend playing.
7. Gambling out of need
When trying to cut down on their gambling or stop altogether, some gamblers experience “psychological withdrawal symptoms.” Like someone who has a drug or alcohol problem, they become irritable, impatient, agitated, or tense if they do not get their “dose” of gambling. Depression is often a result of this unwavering need, given that some researchers have also pointed it out as the cause.
8. Playing to forget
The majority of problem gamblers play to escape their reality and as mentioned above their daily lives stress adds legitimacy to their quench for playing. They feel better when they are playing, betting, buying, pushing themselves to risk a bit more in order to feel a greater reward. The problem is gambling isn’t kind to those who see it as a way to earn back their losses, most times it just gets them into a deeper issue
9. Stealing or committing fraud to gamble
Despite their losses, problem gamblers continue playing, and their finances keep getting worse. Borrowing money from family, friends, and co-workers is no longer enough. To fund their habit and try to solve their problems by hitting the jackpot, they turn to misdeeds and crime.
10. Gambling because its important (win or lose)
Gamblers can become so addicted to the game and the hope to win it all back that they fall into ever-deeper financial, social, and professional trouble. Everything about their lives gradually revolves around and is affected by gambling. It puts their families, friendships, studies, jobs, and future career prospects at risk.
Families Knows Best! Support your loved ones by looking out for:
- Unexplained financial problems
- Reduced involvement in social/group activities outside the home
- Emotional distress, anger, depression, seclusion
- Lack of communication among family members
- Items of value lost or missing
- They start working overtime or taking a second job to make ends meet
- They become noticeably absent from or disinterested in normal family activities