Compulsive Gambling – Symptoms & Risk Factors

Gambling in any form, may it be casino, poker games, horse racing and betting games may sound rational and exciting superficially. You may not realize it that these entertainments will initially be thrilling but eventually lead you to become a compulsive gambler. Most of these games are designed to lure the customers by offering initial success. Gambling does not require any specific skill or knowledge.

Many people believe it is the easiest way of making money. Given with high speed net connectivity anybody can easily opt for online gambling irrespective of age and gender.

Gambling Is Not Money-Making

It is harsh reality that only one out of a million gets a chance to win in any kind of gambling. However, most of the gamblers believe that he/she can be the “one” and continue to gamble with pleasure. It would be difficult to know that more than 60% of high school students in the US have admitted gambling online as stated by the National Council of problem gambling.

Although they start using their pocket money for online gambling with the hope of earning more they end up becoming problem gambler.  Students who are in teens are more vulnerable than adults since they cannot think rationally and their decision making skills are not fully developed.

Compulsive Gambling

What Exactly Is Compulsive Gambling?

It is quite alright if you visit casinos or indulge in betting games occasionally after you have earned great profits. But it becomes a problem if you couldn’t control gambling. Most of the time people hide the actual money they lose in gambling and how much time they spend on it. You know pretty well that things would be out of control with increasing debts.

Gambling becomes compulsive once you start betting money you cannot afford to and have trouble stopping it. You are supposed to realize you are on the wrong side if your savings decrease consistently and you are avoiding other activities which you once enjoyed immensely. 

Accept the Truth

Gambling begins to decline once you accept the truth. Many times, people deny spending too much on gambling and give excuses that gambling is a kind of relaxation activity. You are halfway towards the road to recovery once if you admit that you have already wasted huge savings on it. If you have started worrying about compulsive gambling you can definitely overcome it. 

It is not an overstatement to say gamblers live in “fantasy” world hiding themselves from the facts. By going through the expenses column every month it can be dreadful to accept the money you have lost in the process of gambling. 


Initially you may think you are the only one with stressful job situation and relationship issues in this world, owing to compulsive gambling. Many times people lose their jobs due to the pleasure of gambling. In case you have not gone that far, you are lucky enough to surpass it.

Gamblers think they possess knowledge and special skills unlike others to get a positive outcome. Sadly this is nothing but an illusion. There are plenty of people believing the chance of winning is high if they use particular slot of machine or if they wear specific color of dress. 


Psychologists across the world have provided useful information about gamblers. When questioned about how much money they have lost in gambling, they often deny the actual loss. Gamblers lie suitably to convince their family giving details of business or office expenses that do not exist. Often they don’t have the courage to accept repeated loss of assets owing to compulsive gambling. 

Win Over The Losses

The idea of every gambler would be to set right the losses by winning over it. It is all right if I have lost some money since I would be making lots of cash by chasing the loss. This would be the strategy of gamblers and they actually believe it can happen anytime in gambling. 

Avoid Family and Friends

Next stage of compulsive gambler would be to neglect family functions or going out for dinner with friends. Often they prefer to spend time alone thinking about how to win in gambling. Going for movies or spending time with family would be their preference earlier, but now they devise plan giving false excuses to avoid spending quality time with spouse and children. 

Feeling Of Guilt

Problem gamblers would feel guilty spending time on their own thinking about the consequences of the lost money. It creates fear and anguish with respect to their future. They don’t know how to disclose to their family regarding the huge loss of accumulated wealth. Slowly, gamblers resort to blaming themselves for the current situation of neglected family, suspension from office and earning disrespect from others. It is the time when one realizes how the act of gambling can influence his/her entire life seriously. 

Mental Health

There are many cases where people develop psychological problems like anxiety/depression due to growing concern about future. Repeated failures in gambling and fear of life can seriously affect the mental health of an individual. A person who was once loving and caring to his family may now get irritated even for silly things. It is more likely that the personality of the individual changes due to compulsive gambling. 

Substance Abuse

People may opt for binge drinking or substance abuse due to self sympathy and frustration arising out of lost assets. It would be easy for them to get addicted to alcohol rather than accepting about gambling. They begin to borrow funds from office and even they take benefits from retirement savings. It would be easy for them to think it would be fine even they neglect the workplace and family matters and continue to use substance or alcohol.

Road to Recovery

Given above are some of the effects of compulsive gambling. It is essential to know the plan to overcome the desire of gambling. It is not that difficult as you think to quit any undesirable habits like smoking, drinking or gambling activity. All you have to do is to be honest and open up yourself to your loved ones and therapist.

Not all the gamblers need any medical help to stop it. It is enough if you have support from your family and friends in these difficult times. You can join any group like gambler anonymous which is the ideal place to vent out your feelings. You would be happy to know that you are not all alone and there are much more people around you who are in the worst scenario. 

You can also take part in online counseling sessions in case you do not want to visit any association meetings. Most importantly one should avoid the route leading to favorite gambling place that may induce one to start gambling. If possible you can start with going for gym or joining your preferred hobby which aids in quick healing of both body and mind. 

Some people who are addicted to gambling may require medical intervention from psychiatrists. All you have to do is follow the instructions given by your doctor and stay close to your spouse and children. Separate counseling classes are given for the family also as to how to deal with your loved ones in times of difficulty. All they need now is your support and companionship to overcome compulsive gambling.

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