In any type of addiction, recognizing early-warning signs is vital to a speedy recovery. This is especially true of gambling, where failing to cut oneself off in time can result in significant debt, severe depression, and worse. The fact that you’re reading this blog is already a step in the right direction — it shows that you’re committed to at least doing some research on the matter. Let’s strike while the iron is hot and look at 10 indicators you need help with a gambling addiction.
You’re Having Difficulty Organizing Your Thoughts
Addiction can lead to the feeling of being “scatterbrained” whenever we’re not where our impulses crave us to be. We see it in cigarette smokers if they frequently insist they need another hit in order to stay focused. We see it in alcoholics if they consistently express a need for a drink to clear their heads. Throwing money at the slot machines can follow a similar line-of-thought. Don’t con yourself into believing excessive gambling is a source of mental clarity. It doesn’t bring zen. It brings anguish. Remember, “The lack of awareness of the disorder makes it difficult enough to identify problem gamblers and connect them to treatment, much less address the impact problem gambling has on loved ones.” Damon Dye, EdD, LMHC, NCGC II, BACC said.
You Keep Purchasing Lotto Tickets “Just Because”
Gas station attendants might just be the folks who are the most capable of recognizing a gambling addict. Their primary purpose is to tender gasoline transactions, but most gas stations and tie-in convenience stores sell lottery and scratch-off tickets, too. Plenty of people fall into the habit of purchasing these quick-play gambling games whenever they’re filling up their car, and that adds up fast. It’s easy to stop viewing it as a fun little occasional distraction and start buying daily, so kick the habit before it takes over your routine.
You’re Cancelling Social Events
“If you find yourself avoiding parties, work gatherings, or even your own friends and family, there may be a fear of judgment or underlying feelings of inadequacy.” Dr. Marisa Alter, PsyD, a clinical psychologist explains. We can’t always make room for scheduled hangouts with our friends and family. Stuff comes up no matter how hard we try to perfect our itinerary. This is fine. What isn’t fine is cancelling frequently and for no recognizable reason. If you’re experiencing a rise in inexplicable apathy, take a look at your leisure activities. Maybe you’re getting too heavily into those poker games.
You’ve Been Told You’re Irritable Lately
Trust your loved ones to know you better than you might think they do. If you’ve been hearing complaints lately that you’ve been getting cranky, take stock of your surroundings, especially if you hadn’t realized you’ve changed until someone pointed it out. When addiction begins to overwhelm us, our minds rebel to the negative emotions, and we sometimes take it out on others without realizing it.
Your Boss Isn’t Satisfied With Your Work
If you used to be a prime candidate for employee-of-the-month but your performance evaluations have tanked since you took up slots, you’d best consider putting that cruise ship vacation on hold until further notice. Productivity often falls by the wayside when addiction gets serious.
You Gamble Alone
Occasional, responsibly-financed trips to casinos can be fun as a group event or with a few close friends. Like any entertainment venue, there comes a point when enough is enough. There’s nothing inherently wrong with visiting casinos alone, but it can be a warning sign. You’ve written off the social aspect, so are you only here for the money?
You’re Glued To YouTube Gambling Videos
YouTube and similar services offer us a doorway for learning all kinds of things. If you’ve subscribed to a bunch of channels about poker probability and slots distribution, consider taking a step back and evaluating your current life choices. There’s nothing wrong with learning this stuff, and it might give you an edge at the weekly company card night. But make sure that’s all that’s going on, here. Because “Even those who have never been to a casino and likely never will can still become addicted gamblers because of the proliferation of gambling websites.” says Dr. David Hodgson.
You’ve Started Lying
Now we’re getting into the darker symptoms of gambling addiction. People who develop a “need” for gambling quickly find a similar “need” for covering their tracks when loved ones begin inquiring as to their whereabouts and why they look so glum and all those other considerations. You’ll have to admit your problem soon enough, so nip those fibs in the bud.
You’re Viewing Gambling As Extra Income
This one’s dangerous. Many folks who develop an addiction start out with a couple of casual trips to the roulette wheel and then when money’s tight they begin to calculate how much they’d need to win to cover the rest of their utility bills, or their child’s education. You know what they say about that place that’s paved with good intentions.
You’re “Just Going Back to Zero”
If you’re throwing money at the hope of climbing back to your starting bet, chances are you’re really just throwing that money away. Think statistically. If you’re somewhat in debt now due to a compulsory gambling condition, you’re definitely addicted, and you need to think about getting your savings back up rather than wasting what you have left.