One of the main issues for those who live with a gambler is knowing when they have crossed the defining line from a recreational gambler to a problem gambler.
Professional counselors and addictions experts say there are a few tell-tale signs that will indicate that their gambling habits have changed and gambling has become the focal point in their life.
The most common sign is that a problem gambler will try to hide the issue from the people close to them. This will include lying or telling half-truths to their spouses, family, friends and coworkers
When gambling puts them in a financial hole from chasing their losses, many problem gamblers will attempt to borrow funds without admitting the real reason they need the money. The ask usually comes after they have maxed out their credit cards or take out a second mortgage.
Being obsessed with gambling is also a sign that things maybe moreserious or out of control. Those with a problem can’t stop thinking about the last time they gambled or are looking for any reason to go gambling.
Many gamblers know they should not gamble and when they try to quit, they cannot fight the urge to play.
Whether they gamble to forget their problems or reduce their stress, the game is no longer just entertainment for them. It is something they do to feel better and escape from whatever is bothering them. And then the gambling and losing causes problems.
Don’t be afraid to stand up and say something. Gamblers can become so addicted to the game and the hope to win it all back that they fall into ever-deeper financial, social, and professional trouble. Everything about their lives gradually revolves around and is affected by gambling. It puts their families, friendships, studies, jobs, and future career prospects at risk.
For more information on how to help the problem gambler in your life call 1-800-306-6789
The Problem Gambling Help Line provides free 24-hour help to people with gambling problems and their families. Callers receive confidential, professional service from trained counsellors.