Gambling addiction, also called gambling disorder, is a process addiction which develops around a behavior rather than a substance. While this process addiction may not directly endanger an individual’s physical health like substance or alcohol abuse, a gambling addiction can have a profound impact on a person’s work, finances and relationships.
An estimated 2 percent of people in the U.S. suffer from gambling addiction. Unfortunately, most gamblers do not recognize they have a problem until they face extremely negative consequences, such as complete financial ruin or the loss of a marriage. Even then, in spite of the significant negative financial, social or legal consequences, individuals struggling with this addiction cannot stop their urge to gamble. No matter how the disorder develops in a person’s life, gambling addiction has devastating consequences for both the addict and family members.
Gambling Addiction Symptoms
People struggling with an addiction often attempt to conceal their behaviors from others. Whether the individual is gambling at a casino or online at home, the addiction will likely become evident as a result of financial difficulties. Common behaviors associated with gambling addiction include:
- Thoughts about gambling or ways to obtain more money for gambling become persistent and obsessive
- Distressful feelings (anxiety, sadness, helplessness) trigger an urge to gamble
- Increasing amounts of money are needed (larger, riskier bets) in order to achieve the same “rush”
- Bills and necessary expenses are neglected to reserve money for gambling
- Possessions are sold or stolen to obtain money for gambling
- Attempts to cut down or stop the behavior cause observable irritability or anxiety, and ultimately fail in spite of determined efforts
- Lying or deceptive behaviors develop in order to hide the addiction from others
- Gambling continues in spite of significant losses or the risk of losing a job or relationship
Gambling Addiction Treatment at HopeQuest
If you or a loved one is struggling with gambling addiction, HopeQuest can help.
Our 12-week, intensive residential program provides group and individual therapy, as well as treatment for co-occurring disorders (anxiety, depression, etc.) in order to maximize treatment benefits. Our unique approach combines evidenced-based treatment strategies with Christian principles to help individuals face their addiction, while God and others support them in their quest for hope and freedom.