What Are the Indicators of Compulsive Gambling?
Compulsive gamblers tend to be bright, energetic, competitive, adventuresome individuals. In short, they may have the characteristics of an otherwise ideal employee. There are no obvious physical signs. Unlike some drug or alcohol abusers, there are no needle marks, breath odor, slurred speech or staggering gait. Like alcoholics and drug addicts, compulsive gamblers typically deny any problem until they hit rock bottom and are desperate for help.
One of the clearest indicators of a serious gambling problem is borrowing money to gamble or to pay off gambling debts. This is the heart of the security issue, which is the gambler’s need for money. Another significant indicator is any effort to conceal one’s gambling from spouse, children, friends, or co-workers, e.g., hiding betting slips or lottery tickets. This indicates some shame or embarrassment about one’s behavior.
Other indicators of a potential or actual gambling problem include: gambling as a way of escaping from problems or relieving feelings of helplessness, guilt, anxiety, or depression; needing to gamble with increasing amounts of money in order to achieve the desired excitement; and repeated unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back, or stop gambling
A study that compared the gambling practices of compulsive gamblers with social gamblers found that the single most striking difference was the amount of leisure time devoted to gambling. Compulsive gamblers were more than five times as likely as social gamblers to devote at least one quarter of their leisure time to gambling or preparation for gambling.
Children of problem gamblers are at greater risk than others for developing a gambling problem themselves. One study found that 50% of the children of pathological gamblers were also pathological gamblers. In one group of 50 female members of Gamblers Anonymous, 40% reported growing up in a household where one or both parents were addicted to either alcohol or gambling.
Gambling is an addiction and if you think you are a compulsive gambler you should seek out professional help.