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Tell-Tale Signs You May Have a Gambling Addiction

Leah Harper1214 views

As with any other addiction, gambling can cause people to act in a way outside of their typical behavior when the urge to use is at its peak. Many people think that this behavior is simply selfishness run amok and that there is no biological component that is controlled or spurring on these urges. However, these assumptions are misguided. Even though a gambling addiction is not primarily a physical addiction the chemical aspect of the psychological addiction can be just as palpable when it comes to changes in people thought process and sense of priorities. If you think that you or someone you love may have a potential gambling addiction here is a list of symptomatic behavior to look for:


Dishonesty comes with the territory of addiction. Gamblers, who find themselves fighting their urges or trying to hide their destructive behavior, often lie to keep up appearances to the people in their lives. These people are often their parents, spouses, friends, employers, and coworkers. Lies about money are most common.

“Chasing” after Losing Bets

This tendency is a sort of modified addictive behavior specific to gamblers. People who lose a fair amount of money will often try and win it back at the risk of losing more money. However, some will claim that they will quit gambling after winning or make up an excuse as to why they lost, and even blame it on luck all this amounts to is chasing losses and building up a larger debt. Find out what happens to the brain when you win here.

Borrowing More Money

Read more: Why we like gambling so much

One of the inevitable outcomes of a gambling addiction is running out of money, but not the urge to gamble. This pathological behavior is not abated by a lack of funds, and all that matters is finding more money to gamble by whatever means happen to be convenient.  Most often this means constantly borrowing money typically from friends and family, and they typically become very cagey about the circumstances behind their need. If they can get the money from those sources they move to credit cards and other unsavory resources.

Always Betting More

The thrill of gambling is about the risk and not the reward and like all addicts the rush becomes diminished after successes and the gambler will need to find greater challenges to get the same thrill. This compulsion means increasing the amount that is being wagered and thereby increasing the risk and the rush.

An Obsession with Gambling

Gambling addicts can‘t turn it off. This compulsion is different from a professional gambler who takes a vacation and who knows when to walk away from the table. The addict has a myopic view of the world where the only thing that matters is the next bet, and they will bet on anything. They will bet on the flip of a coin whether they arrive somewhere on time or even if it rains the next day, looking for any excuse to get that rush.

Failing to Quit Gambling Repeatedly

A gambling addict who knows they have a problem will often try to stop cold turkey, and many will inevitably fail and fall off the wagon. They will start gambling again, lose big and repeat the process numerous times before getting professional help.

Gambling Withdrawal

This fact may surprise you, but even psychological addictions have withdrawals and with gambling addicts this can be quite obvious. They manifest “psychological withdrawal symptoms” that can include the shakes, irritability, aggression, impatience, and insomnia. These symptoms will go way if the addict suffers through them or turns back to gambling.

Gambling to Erase the Past

Many gamblers have histories that are checkered and riddled with mistakes, loss, and hardship and the way they often try and kill those painful memories is through the rush of betting. The gamblers rush is known to numb to the pain of the past and provide an escape.

Committing Crime to Fund the Addiction

Like some addicts, a gambler will often find themselves unable to pay for their addiction and will often turn to illegal means to fund their betting. Additionally gamblers believe that if they win they will be able to pay back the people that they rob or defraud. This excuse justifies the crime they commit.

Gambling is the Top Priority

Gambling addicts put the game before everything else, and will strain to find a way to justify gambling in inappropriate settings, and they will often put their personal and professional relationships at risk, only regretting their behavior much later.