Gambling addiction occurs when a person gets addicted to the thrill of gambling, or alternatively, when a person comes to believe that gambling will provide them an escape from their financial problems. The most clear sign of a gambling addiction is when someone has strong urges to gamble, and continues to gamble, despite knowing the harm that it is causing the person or others. Gambling addiction often occurs concurrently with alcoholism or alcohol use disorder (AUD).
The following are some other signs of gambling addiction:
- Feeling the need to gamble larger and larger amounts to feel a thrill;
- Inability to control or reduce gambling despite its negative consequences;
- Feeling restless or irritable when trying to reduce or stop gambling;
- Is often preoccupied with thoughts about gambling;
- Often gambles to fix a bad mood (e.g. hopeless, guilty, anxious, depressed, etc.);
- Goes back to gambling after a loss to try to get even;
- Tells lies to hide his or her gambling activity;
- Has harmed or lost a significant relationship, job, education, or career opportunity because of gambling;
- Has financial difficulties (e.g. takes on debt) due to gambling.