People who experience gambling addiction may be unable to control the impulse to gamble, even when they know their actions are hurting themselves and others. Individuals with this addiction may feel an urge to gamble in spite of their desire to quit.
The DSM-5 lists nine warning signs of gambling addiction. If someone shows at least four of these signs over the course of a year, they may have a gambling problem:
- Persistent thoughts about gambling, whether it be reliving past wins or planning the next gambling session
- Using gambling to escape from problems or distress
- A need to gamble with increasing amounts of money to get the same thrill
- Lying about the extent of gambling activities
- Using gambling to recover money from previous losses (called “chasing one’s losses”)
- Repeated attempts to control one’s gambling or stop altogether
- Restlessness when trying to cut back on gambling
- Ignoring family, work, and other responsibilities to gamble
- Borrowing money from others to relieve debts caused by gambling
If you or a loved one has a gambling addiction, therapy can help. You can find a therapist in your area who specializes in addiction. It is never too late.