Gambling is a fun activity for any person willing to try their luck at the casino. Whether it be a weekend out with friends or family, the possibility of doubling your money in mere minutes is tempting to anybody. However, behind the fun, gambling can develop into a destructive addiction that will ruin anyone’s life.

Compulsive gambling, or gambling disorder, is defined as an insatiable urge to gamble no matter the consequences. This disorder is comparable to both alcohol and drug addictions, and proper treatment can be challenging for the individual. Unfortunately, the damage from gambling addiction can permeate into different facets of life.

Underlying Factors

Gambling addiction is a concerning disorder that has lifelong implications. It will have a behavioral, financial, and timely effect on your life. Understanding how these variables work together to create addiction will be important in identifying a gambler.

Behavioral

Once a gambler becomes heavily invested in their gambling habits, they’ll start to undergo several behavioral changes in their daily lives. Usually, gamblers will begin to withdraw from social events and ignore friends or loved ones. This inadvertently leads to the quality of their relationships to decline significantly as the gambler develops feelings of depression, frustration, and hopelessness. All of these feelings compounded together might lead the gambler to become agitated as they attempt to figure out ways in which to recoup monetary losses. As a result, the individual resorts to using violence and intimidation against the people around them.

The behavioral changes only grow to become more noticeable by the minute for those that don’t seek immediate treatment. Soon enough, the social isolation, irregular sleeping patterns, and depression take a toll on the overall well-being of the gambler. In a worst case scenario, the gambler’s relationships become both physically and emotionally abusive. Sadly, when under the burden of their gambling debt, some of these individuals will opt to take their lives away before asking for help. If you see anybody exhibiting any of the behavioral symptoms stated above, then it is best you alert the proper authorities in order to provide assistance for that individual.

Financial

A lot of the issues that a gambler might face mainly stem from their ongoing financial burden. How bad these issues persist depends on how quickly the warning signs are identified and treated. Luckily, there are several financial warning signs to be on the lookout should you be worried about a close friend or family member.

A major sign of financial trouble with a gambler begins with missing money from anywhere in the house, or even in the bank account. Having money disappear without reason whatsoever should immediately raise red flags on a potential issue. Likewise, another warning sign would be a gambler that is always asking for money despite them having been paid recently. This can become a greater issue as they come up with excuses to be secretive about their finances.

An addicted gambler that resorts to hiding their financial records is one that is most inclined to forgo bill payments. From this, some of these individuals will try to use every bit of their money on regaining their financial losses from constant gambling. When dealing with secrecy, missing money, and unpaid bills, it is crucial to pay close attention to the finances of a gambler. One thing can turn into another, and soon these gamblers find themselves losing their homes and possessions in a heartbeat.

Time

A gambler will find themselves spending the majority of their days’ gambling. How do these changes in time management play a role in identifying a gambler’s habits? Well, by paying attention to either the behavioral or financial changes, one could start to piece together a pattern on how a gambler spends most of their time.

For instance, excessive time spent gambling conflicts with any other activity going on in a gambler’s life, particularly with their work lives. Soon those sick days and days off inexplicably become more frequent, as the gambler postpones or misses important deadlines purposefully to satiate their addiction. For them, work becomes less and less of a priority.

The gambler’s misuse of time is the major underlying point in identifying gambling addiction. With the lack of commitment for any other task or chore virtually nonexistent, a gambler is free to spend their time in a casino if need be. It is important to note that a gambler will minimize and conceal their activities to maintain the image of normalcy.

All of these variables are important determinants that provide the proper warning signs of gambling addiction. By being able to identify these factors you’ll be able to do the right thing should you ever find yourself in this type of scenario.

Seeking Treatment

In response to the warning signs stated above, how should you go about seeking treatment for someone you think might have a gambling addiction? Thankfully there’s an abundance of resources available to the gambler should their issues persist.

A gambler has the option of pursuing professional help whether with a therapist or with the National Council on Problem Gambling. With this organization, you’ll be able to find numerous treatment options according to the state you reside in. Whether it be a treatment facility, a counselor, or a network, there’s plenty of alternatives to assist you.

Another resource from which you can rely upon is Gamblers Anonymous, a non-profit organization dedicated to rehabilitating addicts. You can set up an appointment over the phone, or schedule to partake in any of their local meetings. Finally, if you ever find yourself in a desperate situation, you can always call the American Addiction Resource Center at (1-877-959-5634) to seek immediate assistance. In the end, remember that whatever the reason, any person suffering from addiction is never alone.