Symptoms of a Gambling Problem

Gambling occurs when a person stakes something of value (usually money) on a random event with the hope of winning something else of value. It is often associated with games of chance, but can also be found in other places such as churches, gas stations and sporting events. The risk involved can be as low as the cost of a lottery ticket or as high as a multimillion dollar jackpot. It is not uncommon for people with a gambling problem to develop other addictive behaviors, such as substance use disorder and eating disorders.

Symptoms of a gambling problem can vary and are often overlooked by family members and professionals. However, the main symptoms are a loss of control and repeated, compulsive actions that lead to negative consequences. These can include financial, family and social problems.

Problem gambling can affect a person’s ability to work, learn and care for others. It can also cause mental and physical health problems, including stress, depression and anxiety. It can even increase the risk of suicide.

If you know someone who has a gambling problem, try to talk openly with them about their problem in a supportive and caring manner. They may be relieved that the issue is being discussed and willing to seek professional help. If they are not ready to talk, be patient and don’t become frustrated or angry. Some people with a gambling addiction are reluctant to admit they have a problem and might be defensive.