Signs and Symptoms of Compulsive Gambling
Take The Test
If you answer "Yes" to four or more of the following questions, you may have a problem.
INCREASE IN GAMBLING TIME & PLACES
People who may have a gambling issue will find themselves spending more and more time in or around any facilities or events where they can gamble or be engaged in any gambling activity.
INCREASE IN SIZE OF BETS
Compulsive gambling can be equivalent to the addiction of alchol and drugs. Just like drug abusers who develop a "tolerance" for their drug of choice, they must increase their consumption in order to feel the same effects. Gamblers tend to develop a "tolerance" for the "action" and must increase the size of their bets or the odds against them to create the same excitement.
CANCELLING OTHER PLANS TO GAMBLE
With problem gambling comes the need to be involved in the activity as much as possible. In order to accomplish this, compulsive gamblers will go as far as making up special occasions for gambling by cancelling other plans.
INTENSITY OF INTEREST IN GAMBLING
Gamblers can begin gambling and quickly fall in love with the excitement and action of the game. At first they may be successful which gives them the illusion of the potential path to wealth by thinking they can "beat" the system. This thought process is the beginning of their out-of-control spiral into the troubling world of compulsive gambling.
REACTION TO GAMBLING
As gamblers head down the road to be compulsive gamblers, they find that their self-esteem is increased by seeing themselves as smart or lucky. This leads to two things after inevitable losses. First they suffer the monetary loss but more significantly they suffer a deflated ego. They try to then save face by trying to rationalize their loss by blaming other people.
Problem gamblers are focused on high self-esteem. To help boost that esteem, many will boast about winning with an exaggerated display of money and other possessions. They can also be very evasive about losing.
Compulsive gamblers can find themselves in financial trouble quickly. As gamblers default on loans, the fear that the bank or loan company will tell their spouse may drive them to more gambling in a crisis situation as a possible quick way out.
DECREASE IN OTHER ACTIVITIES
Over time, gambling can take over a person's life. They will find themselves less involved in other activities and compulsive gamblers even find themselves five times more likely as social gamblers to devote at least one quarter of their leisure time to gambling or preparation for gambling.
Compulsive gamblers find their lives affected in almost every aspect... even the workplace. Signs of workplace issues can begin with constantly being late, taking long lunches, leaving work early, excessive use of the restroom and taking sick days right when they become available rather than allowing them to accumulate.
Compulsive gamblers must get their "fix". As they become more involved in the dark world of compulsive gambling, they will find themselves suffering from excessive phone usage. Call types include making or receiving calls to/for off-track betting, bookies, creditors or they may just simply be trying to find money.
Withdrawal is the word for the deficit of neurochemicals that occurs when the large, forced doses cease being delivered. This same effect can occur when a compulsive gambler cannot get their "fix" by gambling. This in turn can cause the brain to be overwhelmed by the overabundance of these chemicals and reduces natural production to compensate, leaving the person with a deficit and causing withdrawals.
There are many phases of becoming a compulsive gambler and one of those is included in the "losing" phase of their transformation. Besides all other areas of their life becoming affected, personality changes such as becoming irritable and restless is a major part in that transformation.
DIVERSION OF FAMILY FUNDS
Compulsive gamblers will find that their desire for increased gambling often depletes family resources. Many will go as far as cashing in joint savings bonds, emptying their checking accounts, pawn joint property and take out loans without the spouse's knowledge. This will lead to gamblers trying to regain respectability and look to gamble even more as the only alternative.