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What are the signs and symptoms of gambling addiction?

Gambling addiction is associated with a whole host of symptoms, which can have a destructive impact on all areas of your life, as well as your general health and wellbeing.

Gambling addiction treatment at Life Works in Woking, delivered by our highly qualified team, aims to get to the bottom of your urge to gamble, address your symptoms, and help you every step of the way towards overcoming your addiction. 

As well as gambling on a regular and ongoing basis, the following are all signs that you, or someone that you know, may be struggling with compulsive gambling.

Behavioural and social symptoms of gambling addiction:

  • Placing bets when you don’t have the money to do so. Gambling addicts may resort to gambling away their savings or inheritance, or even re-mortgaging their house in order to place more bets. Other financial matters are ignored or put off
  • Gambling for longer than you had planned - once you've started to gamble, you feel compelled to keep betting/playing until you've spent your last pound
  • Becoming preoccupied with gambling and losing interest in other aspects of your life that were once important to you
  • Feeling a total loss of control over your urge to gamble and struggling to get this in check, however much you might want to
  • Stealing or ‘borrowing’ money to gamble with, or selling your possessions
  • Inability to stop thinking about how and where you can place your next bet or play your next game
  • Continuing to gamble despite the negative effects that this has had on your life
  • Gambling with increasing amounts of money in order to pay for lost bets or to achieve the desired thrill
  • Strained or ruined relationships as a result of your constant gambling and spending
  • Poor performance and/or attendance at work, as gambling has taken over your life
  • Avoiding contact with family and friends, leading to social isolation
  • Concealing the amount of money and time you spend gambling from family members and loved ones - you have lied to those close to you because you know they won't understand, or because you want your next big win to be a surprise for them
  • Denying that you have a problem, to yourself and others

Psychological symptoms of gambling addiction:

  • Anxiety
  • Poor judgement
  • Feeling nervous and ‘on edge’
  • Impatience
  • Defensiveness
  • Agitation
  • Increased temper and irritability
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Mood swings
  • Inability to track the passage of time when betting
  • Memory problems
  • Using gambling for stress relief and to escape your troubles/worries
  • Finding that you feel more ‘alive’ when you’re gambling
  • Stress-related symptoms
  • Exacerbation of any existing mental health problems

Physical symptoms of gambling addiction:

  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Diarrhoea
  • Lack of appetite, leading to weight loss
  • Sleep problems, including insomnia

What are the long-term effects of gambling addiction?

Gambling addiction can also result in a whole host of long-term negative effects such as:

  • Reduced self-esteem
  • Strained or ruined relationships
  • Family breakdowns
  • Job loss and long-term unemployment
  • Financial difficulties
  • Homelessness
  • Legal problems, including arrest and imprisonment

This page was reviewed by Robin Clayton, Primary Therapist, (BACP, ATSAC) in September 2021.

Contact Life Works Today

If you or someone around you is struggling with gambling addiction symptoms, call the Life Works team today on 01483 745 066 to see how we can help. Alternatively, click here to book a FREE ADDICTION ASSESSMENT.

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