Gambling is often seen as a manly activity. If you look at most movies and TV shows that feature gambling, it’s usually a bunch of tough guys at the track, or sitting around a card table, smoking cigars, drinking Scotch, and betting large sums of money without regret. When done right, gambling can be a lot of fun, and a bonding experience with your buds. Unfortunately, there’s also a dark side of gambling: addiction.
Now, it is totally possible to gamble without getting addicted, even if you do it regularly, but there are certain signs that could indicate that you have a problem. The following are eight signs that you may have a problem. If you recognize any of these signs in yourself, take heart: there are several programs that specialize in gambling addiction treatment for men.
1. You have become obsessed with gambling
If gambling consumes your thoughts, to the point that nothing else matters, that is a sign of a gambling addiction. For example, if you see everyday things like your kid’s soccer game as an opportunity to bet on the outcome, that’s a strong sign that you have become obsessed with gambling.
2. You can’t stop or resist gambling
If you have a hard time resisting the urge to gamble, or stopping once you start, that is a sign of a gambling addiction. For example, if you can’t go to the store without buying a lottery scratch-off; or if you find yourself playing online poker until all hours of the morning, even when you want to stop, that’s a strong sign that you can’t stop or resist gambling.
3. You gamble despite the negative consequences
If you continue to gamble, even though has ruined your finances, or has damaged your personal and professional relationships, that is a sign of a gambling addiction. For example, if you have borrowed money from friends and relatives, and those relationships are now strained but you continue to spend all of your money on gambling instead of paying your debts, that’s a strong sign that you gamble despite the negative consequences.
4. You’re unhappy when you’re not gambling
If being in situations where you can’t gamble makes you angry, irritable, depressed, or restless, that’s a sign of a gambling addiction. For example, if you get upset when something preempts your weekly poker game, that’s a strong sign that you’re unhappy when you’re not gambling.
5. You’re only happy when you’re gambling.
If you feel down then experience a sense of excitement and euphoria when you gamble, that’s a sign of a gambling addiction. For example, If you are feeling stressed, but become ecstatic the minute you sit at your favorite electronic slots, that could be a sign that you’re only happy when you’re gambling.
6. You do questionable things to fuel your gambling.
If you have ever broken the law, or done something morally wrong, to get money to gamble, that’s a sign of a gambling addiction. For example, dipping into the petty cash at work, taking money from the kid’s college fund, or borrowing things from people and pawning them are some of the questionable things people do to fuel their gambling.
7. You are in denial.
If you insist that you don’t have a problem, even if everyone else around you insists that there is, that could mean that you are in denial about your gambling addiction. For example, If you ignore your spouse’s concerns that you spend most of every paycheck at the casino, that could be a sign that you are in denial.
8. You hide your gambling.
If you feel like you have to hide your gambling from your friends and family, that’s a sign of a gambling addiction. For example, if you go to the track every Tuesday night, but lie to your significant other about your activities, that’s a sign that you hide your gambling and may have an addiction.
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