As with most mental afflictions, the symptoms of gambling addiction appear when the addictive behaviour begins to impact on the individual’s everyday life and relationships. Given that compulsive gambling is not a physical condition, its symptoms can sometimes be harder to spot.
However, compulsive gamblers can display behaviours including:
- Gambling and thinking/talking about gambling for long periods of time
- Irritable, highly-strung behaviour when trying to stop or reduce gambling
- A tendency to borrow money as a temporary solution to financial problems
- Repeated failed attempts at controlling, reducing or stopping gambling
- Long or unexplained absences from the home and the workplace
- Taking out multiple bank loans, overloaded credit cards, unpaid bills and inexplicable holes in the family budget
- Excessive amounts of time spent studying sources of gambling information in the Media
- Spending time alone to consider gambling tactics
- Refusal to engage with suggestions from others relating to their gambling
- Reduced productivity at work
- Discomfort, anger and rising tension if something prevents them from gambling
- Euphoria, a swollen sense of self worth and relief should they win.