5 subtle signs of a gambling addiction

An estimated 80 percent of Americans have gambled in their lifetime. Many people occasionally experiment with lotteries or casinos, decide gambling is not for them, and walk away. But about 4 percent of people have a completely different experience.

For some, gambling becomes an addiction that may be used to numb their feelings or get the sensation of a “high.” The addiction can remain hidden until it turns daily life upside down. Often misdiagnosed or misunderstood, compulsive gambling is a serious disease that cannot be controlled by willpower alone. It can be as debilitating as alcoholism and drug addiction, straining relationships and finances.

Noticing the signs

Because there are no obvious physical symptoms, compulsive gambling often is invisible and secret. How can you spot a gambling addiction? Look for one or more of these behaviors:

  1. Making larger bets and/or betting more often
  2. Borrowing money in order to gamble or cover lost money
  3. Downplaying or hiding the extent of gambling activities
  4. Attempting to stop or cut back on amount or frequency of bets
  5. Discussing or questioning that there might be a gambling problem

Fairview can help

Much the same as substance abuse, compulsive gambling is an illness that can be overcome with help. You can call the Minnesota Problem Gambling Helpline 1-800-333-HOPE or visit the Northstar Problem Gambling Alliance website.

You can also count on us at Fairview. Our highly qualified professionals with specific training for gambling issues can help you or your loved one understand and overcome the pull of gambling. With this help, you’ll learn to overcome addiction and lead a more peaceful and balanced life.

Our family program enables family members to receive helpful information and counseling, even if the gambler is not ready to begin treatment.

To learn more about all of our counseling services for gambling addiction, call 612-672-2736 or visit Fairview.org.

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