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5 Common Signs of Problematic Gambling

Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide if your gambling is harmful and if you want to do anything about it. Problem gambling looks different to each individual.

The following signs are some of the common things that have been linked to problem gambling. You may not relate to all of the points but recognising yourself from even one or two points may be a sign of a gambling problem.

Losing money – more than you can afford

This is rather obvious: any gambling comes with the risk of losing – we all know that. But it’s the chances of winning that keep us in the game, sometimes even when we know we have already lost a lot of money and shouldn’t keep spending more. Taking loans, using credit cards or selling your belongings to fund your gambling is a sign of starting to lose control of your finances.

Increased tolerance

In short – you need to place a higher stake and gamble for a longer period of time to get the same buzz compared to before. Being preoccupied with gambling most of the time with increased expenditure is a sign that you are developing psychological tolerance to gambling.

Stress and anxiety linked to gambling

Do you get anxious if you can’t check the results of your bet or if you can’t play another game when you’d like? Do you find yourself becoming fidgety or irritable if you can’t gamble? Are you stressing about the money you just lost or worrying about a loan you need to be able to soon pay back? Problem gambling, almost always significantly increases your stress levels and leads to a cycle where you feel like you need to gamble to get temporary stress relief.

Guilt and shame

When gambling starts to get out of control it may lead to adverse consequences – things that you didn’t initially sign up for; things that you probably would rather not think about.  You may keep gambling in order to keep these feelings at bay.

Neglecting important things in life

When you start to prioritise gambling over other important things, such as relationships with your friends and family, work, your finances, your house, your health, your future plans, this is when problems start to emerge. The urge to gamble may be so strong that it takes over even when you know you’re not doing what’s best for you and the people around you.