Gambling Addiction: Symptoms, Triggers, and Treatment

Gambling Addiction: Symptoms, Triggers, and Treatment

Gambling is viewed as a socially accepted behavior if done with moderation. It can however lead to gambling addiction where you completely lose yourself due to the uncontrollable urge to gamble even when facing the negative, financial and social consequences. Gambling addiction can affect your business, lead to loss of your job, family and friends and greatly affect your finances. Most people never know when they are getting addicted to gambling.


Gambling is not necessarily a financial problem. Usually, it’s a psychological issue that happens to have financial consequences. A gambling addict could hide their condition, but the results can be shown in other aspects of life. Here are some symptoms of gambling addiction:

– Obsessing over gambling. You could have a compulsive need to any time of gambling

– Gambling as a reward syndrome to feel better about life

– Missing important commitments, especially work

– Not paying bills and expenses and using that money to gamble

– Selling your possessions so you can gamble

– Steal money

– Hiding and lying about gambling

– Feeling self-hate and resentment after gambling

– Feeling the need to take a bigger risk every time


Just like alcohol addiction, gambling addiction has factors that lead to the habit, and the more you feed the habit, the worse it gets. Gambling becomes a concern when you cannot control it, and subsequently, it affects your finances and your relationships, and possibly your work. Gambling can make a highly dependable person become an addict and irresponsible.  Here are some factors that can lead to addiction.

– Job stress, depression, and anxiety.

– Being lonely.

– Having other addictions that lead to gambling, say alcohol.

– Environment. Say having friends or people around you who gamble.

– Trauma can lead to gambling addiction. You find yourself gambling to cope with the trauma.

– Retirement.


Gambling addiction is manageable if treated and given the necessary attention.  Anyone who feels they’ve fallen off the wagon should seek help to recover before they fall into addiction irredeemably. One also needs to develop a good relationship with finances. Once you begin the treatment process, it is important to stop gambling completely because occasional gambling can lead to relapse. Learn more here. There are several methods to treat gambling addiction

Inpatient Rehabilitation Program

If you feel you can’t avoid gambling venues like casinos and sports bars, then being in an inpatient facility would help you overcome the addiction. You would have to be away from your other daily activities like work for a stipulated amount of time before you get better.

Outpatient Rehabilitation Program

If you can control going to gambling venues, this treatment would work for you. This would involve attending classes, group sessions, and one on one therapy and continuing with your daily routines like work and home activities.


Psychotherapy and behavioral therapy help the addict open up about their addiction and help have an understanding of the deeper emotions and underlying issues that led to the gambling habit to change the behavior pattern.


Gambling could be a result of a mental health condition like bipolar. Medication will help the addict have better control of the impulse.

Lifestyle change

Avoid situations and environments that lead to the urge to gamble. If you have friends who gamble, you can avoid them as much as you can. To have a better harness on your finances, you can change financial responsibilities to a trusted friend or spouse. Having a productive lifestyle and work will distract you from having the urge to gamble.