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What Are the Signs of a Gambling Addiction?

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What Are the Signs of a Gambling Addiction?

a young man looking despaired at a slot machines, one of the signs of a gambling addiction

Substance use disorder isn’t the only form of addiction. Process addiction is when an individual compulsively engages in activities or behaviors that lead to a rush of pleasure and engagement. Gambling addiction is the only officially recognized process addiction in the DSM-5, which is what mental health professionals reference to diagnose mental health conditions. The signs of gambling disorder may not be obvious since many who live with it struggle in secrecy and silence.

Young men ages 18–30 who have a process addiction can find help at Red Oak Recovery®. Our treatment center in North Carolina offers gambling addiction treatment for young men, among other services. Our age-appropriate, gender-specific programs focus on addressing the underlying causes of addiction and developing healthy coping mechanisms. Call 828.382.9699 to get help today.

Understanding Gambling Addiction

Gambling addiction, also known as pathological gambling or gambling disorder, is characterized by an uncontrollable urge to gamble despite the negative impact it may have on one’s life. Unlike occasional gambling for entertainment, gambling addiction is a compulsive behavior that can destroy financial stability, relationships, and mental health.

There are more ways than ever that compulsive gambling can become a problem for young men. Casinos and in-person games are now only small parts of the gambling world. Online gambling, sports betting, and fantasy sports have all become popular forms of gambling, especially among young men.

Signs and Symptoms of a Gambling Addiction

Recognizing the early signs of a gambling addiction is crucial for intervention and treatment. These signs may include:

  • A preoccupation with gambling activities, constantly thinking about past experiences or planning the next venture
  • Increasingly larger bets are needed to feel excitement
  • Repeated, unsuccessful attempts to stop or control gambling behaviors

Of course, if you don’t gamble with the person, you might not experience these behaviors. You also won’t be able to tell when they’re thinking about it.

Behavioral Signs and Symptoms

The behavior of someone with a gambling addiction can change significantly, manifesting in:

  • Lying to family and friends about the extent of gambling
  • Financial difficulties, including debt or stealing money to gamble
  • Withdrawing from social and family activities to gamble

There are also several emotional and psychological signs of gambling addiction.

Emotional and Psychological Effects

Gambling addiction can lead to severe emotional distress, including:

  • Anxiety and depression, often resulting from financial stress and relationship issues
  • Feelings of guilt and shame about gambling behaviors
  • The potential for substance abuse as a coping mechanism for stress and anxiety related to gambling

The shame and guilt associated with gambling addiction can also cause individuals to isolate themselves and avoid seeking help, making it difficult for loved ones to recognize the problem.

Impact on Relationships and Professional Life

The ripple effects of gambling addiction extend to all areas of life, causing:

  • Strain on family dynamics and relationships, leading to isolation
  • Performance issues at work or school due to preoccupation with gambling
  • Financial instability, leading to further stress and isolation

Addiction doesn’t just affect a single person. Substance and process addictions can have a significant impact on loved ones, friends, and colleagues. It’s essential to address gambling addiction not only for the individual but also for the sake of their relationships and overall well-being.

Start Treatment at Red Oak Recovery® Today

We understand the complexities of gambling addiction and how it can impact young men. Our compassionate and experienced staff provides personalized treatment plans to address each individual’s unique needs.

Our residential treatment program in North Carolina offers a safe and supportive environment for young men to recover from process addictions, including gambling disorder. Through therapy, support groups, and holistic practices, we help individuals understand the root causes of their addiction and develop healthy coping mechanisms.

Call 828.382.9699 or complete our online form to get started.