Gambling addiction symptoms

There is often an underlying issue which causes people to start gambling. Examples may include problems at work, unresolved issues within a relationship, drug addiction and others. Feeling a constant urge to gamble even when you are already in a difficult financial situation, or gambling as a way out of financial difficulty are both common symptoms of a gambling addiction. Gambling addiction is a type of impulse-control disorder where gamblers have little or no control over their urge to gamble, even when they are aware that their actions can hurt themselves and others and even when the odds are against them.

Gambling addiction can cause problems in relationships and at work and the cost of funding this habit can become a huge burden as well as an emotional pressure.

What are the symptoms of gambling addiction?

The following may be signs of a gambling problem:

  • A preoccupation with gambling and loss of interest in other aspects of life - for example, ignoring family responsibilities and focusing only on the results of gambling
  • Loss of control - being unable to manage impulsive urges to gamble even when the odds are against you
  • Increasing the amount of money used to gamble in order to pay for lost bets or to experience the thrill
  • A negative impact upon relationships with those closest to you - losing a partner as a result of a gambling addiction is very common due to the strains and burdens that problem gambling places on a relationship
  • Problems within the workplace - for example, increased absence from work or lack of concentration
  • Concealing the amount of money and time spent betting from family members. The secrecy that is often involved in problem gambling leads to a lack of trust and often further problems at home
  • Denial that you have a problem with gambling is a great concern as the first step to recovery is accepting that you have a problem

How to spot the signs of a problem gambler

People with a compulsive gambling problem may also demonstrate the following emotional symptoms:

  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhoea
  • Clouded judgement
  • Lack of appetite
  • Lack of sleep
  • Feeling on edge
  • Anger 
  • Impatience

If you have concerns that you may have a problem with gambling and would like to find out about the treatment options available at a Priory hospital or clinic near to you, then please call: 0800 144 8969.