Unlike substance use disorders, the signs of gambling problems may not be as noticeable or apparent. However, there are emotional and behavioral changes that suggest someone may have a gambling problem.
Someone may have a gambling problem if…
- They exaggerate gambling wins and downplay losses.
- They are secretive about where they go and the money they spend.
- They seem restless, irritable, and easily agitated.
- They appear to be, or say they are, depressed or anxious.
- They are withdrawing from friends and family and spending more time alone.
- They sleep and eat less.
- They are less reliable, often arriving late to commitments.
- They take a lot of time to complete small tasks or errands.
- They are less efficient, productive, or trusted at work.
- They sometimes express guilt or remorse after gambling.
- They say they’ll stop gambling, but they don’t.
Keep in mind, these are the signs family and friends may be able to spot. But there may be other signs that are perceptible only to the person with the gambling problem, such as strong, repeated urges to gamble. If you think you or a loved one may have a gambling problem, take the short Before You Bet quiz or answer 20 questions from Gamblers Anonymous to find out.