How Addiction to Gambling Affects You

There are several ways in which problem gambling can negatively affect your life. On this page, we’ve offered a few questions and tips to help you determine if you or someone you care about may have a problem. You will also find accounts of people who have conquered their problems, as well as information on different forms of addiction and gambling reasons.



Are You a Responsible Gambler?

There are a lot of questions you may ask yourself if you are concerned about your or a loved one’s gambling habits…


How frequently do you wager more money than you can afford to lose?

Do you find yourself wagering more and larger amounts of money to achieve the same level of excitement?

Do you frequently play to recover losses?

How frequently do you borrow or sell items to increase your disposable income?

Does gambling ever leave you feeling stressed, anxious, or depressed?

Has a close friend or relative ever criticized your gambling or indicated you could have a problem?

Have gaming activities ever caused you or your family financial difficulties?

Have you ever felt remorse about gambling?

When you’re winning, are you able to quit gambling?

On a scale from 1 to 10, how much do your emotions influence your gambling?

Noting that while these questions may be a good beginning point, answering them will not prove that you have a gambling addiction is vital. If you are worried about any of your responses, you should consult a certified mental health professional who can provide an accurate diagnosis and treatment recommendations.


Gambling Addiction Types

Not all individuals with a gambling addiction will exhibit identical symptoms or levels of severity. Here are some of the most prevalent sorts of problems:


Pathological gambling

Compulsive gamblers cannot control their impulse to gamble, constituting the most severe kind of addiction. Even when they know they cannot afford to lose, they will wager and take chances regardless of the repercussions.


Pathological gambling

Binge gambling

Symptoms may resemble those of pathological gambling, but will only manifest at particular periods. Binge gamblers may look in control because they may go weeks or months without gambling, but if a trigger occurs, the need to gamble will take over.


Binge gambling

Problem gambling

Problem gamblers may not be completely unable to control their impulses, but they may engage in behaviors such as chasing losses and lying to family and friends about their habit.


Problem gambling

Varieties of Gambler

There are several reasons why individuals bet. The following are some of the most prevalent sorts of gamblers and their driving forces:


The Social Betrayer

Enjoys the chance gaming affords for social interaction. They are most frequently encountered at racetracks and bingo halls, although they may emerge in any area, both real and digital.


The Dreamer is motivated to gamble by fantasies of what their life could be if they win big. Often, the time just before they put a wager is the most exhilarating for them.


The Seer believes they are able to see patterns and anticipate game results. Some are superstitious and believe that a behavior or routine, such as wearing “lucky socks,” would boost their odds of winning.


The Adventure-seeker

Enjoys the adrenaline rush provided by gambling. When a player fully commits to a game, their heart rate increases and their body responds by experiencing maximum excitement.


The Fugitive

Utilizes gaming as an escape from worries and troubles in the outer world. They view it less as a social activity and more as an opportunity to temporarily forget about their problems. Likely to be interested in bingo and slot machines or video poker machines.


The Expert studies books and data to get gambling-related knowledge that will enhance their experience. Attracted to sports betting and card games where card counting is possible, such as blackjack.


The Winner desires to demonstrate who is ‘best’. Favors games requiring knowledge and skill. Losses will just motivate them to continue gambling.


Approved Methods for Helping a Gambling Addict

If you or a loved one is battling with a gambling addiction, there is assistance available. We’ve created a list of resources to send you in the right direction, whether you need someone to chat to, help with your money, or anything else. Visit our contact page for further details.


A Recovering Gambler Responds to Your Questions Regarding Gambling Addiction

Catherine Townsend-Lyon is a best-selling author and campaigner for gambling addiction rehabilitation. As a recovered addict, she is intimately familiar with the difficulties experienced by problem gamblers. Here, she responds to concerns about her personal experience and gives advise for anyone seeking assistance.


When did you initially begin gambling? What motivated you?

I am not from a gambling background, but I have always liked gambling with my pals. We would visit Reno or the Indian casinos many times each year. It used to be an enjoyable activity for about an hour. Then I went more frequently and utilized gambling as an escape. It was a method of numbing childhood traumas and sorrow.


When did you realize there was a problem? What were the indicators?

I started gambling more and placing larger wagers, and the warning flags quickly became apparent. I would lie about the length of my absence. I longed for family reunions. I would call in ill if I were the winner. Even medical and dental appointments were disregarded. Money issues led to disagreements with my hubby.


I tried suicide in 2002. I became part of the statistic that one in five gambling addicts attempt suicide. I stayed in a crisis center for the first time and underwent treatment for gambling addiction.


How has gaming negatively impacted your life?

I began selling valuable items and obtained credit cards and payday loans without my husband’s knowledge. I dug us a massive financial hole and lost the majority of my pals. I would dispute with coworkers and lose jobs over this issue. After two failed suicide attempts, I eventually gambled with my life.


What steps did you take to conquer your addiction?

After my second unsuccessful suicide attempt in 2006, I recommenced therapy for gambling addiction at the Addiction Crisis Center. I eventually accepted that I would never be able to gamble responsibly. My gambling had spiraled out of hand to the point where it nearly cost me my life.


I attended Gamblers Anonymous for several years after completing 30-days of inpatient treatment. I had treatment to overcome the childhood pain I was attempting to numb, and I learned how to forgive and make apologies. This new strategy allowed me to begin paying off my obligations gradually.


To better comprehend what my gambling addiction had taken from me, I chose to write a memoir. The 2013 book Addicted to Dimes: Confessions of a Liar and a Cheater describes how I became a gambling addict.


What advise would you provide to someone who is struggling?

Don’t endure suffering in quiet as I did. There is assistance available, and there is no shame in seeking it. You can get assistance on our Gambling Addiction and Treatment page if you’re in the United States, as well as on a page I’ve created with a list of trusted resources.


There are various techniques to help you regain control of your life, regardless of the nature of your gambling addiction. In my experience, triggers and appetites for gambling only lessen when one refrains from gaming. When you seek assistance, you will discover your own methods for overcoming these desires so that you may go on the road to recovery.