Symptoms of Gambling Addiction

gambling problem

Gambling addiction starts out as a solution to a problem. The problem may be as simple as boredom or as complex as a feeling of having failed at life. Unfortunately, the temporary escape gambling provides isn’t a very good solution. It creates another set of difficulties, often much worse than the problem it was meant to solve.

Learn More About Gambling Addiction Symptoms and Treatment Options

One of the symptoms of a gambling addiction is the unwillingness or inability to admit there is any wrong at all. Because of this, the following questions are meant to highlight the common symptoms that indicate addictive behavior.

Questions (Adapted from Gamblers Anonymous and Psychologist, Anywhere, Anytime) 1

  • Has gambling ever caused you to miss work (or school) or been the subject of an argument with a loved one?
  • Do you have a reputation as someone who gambles?
  • Does gambling occupy your thoughts when you aren’t actively playing?
  • Have you had the urge either to win more when you have won or recover from losses by winning back your money?
  • Have you ever gambled on credit or borrowed money to gamble?
  • Do you gamble to improve your mood or to help overcome problems at home or work?
  • Do you believe you can ‘strike it rich’ or change your lifestyle with gambling?
  • Do you have a close relative who is/was a problem gambler?
  • Are you most comfortable with friends who also gamble and is this the basis for the friendship?
  • Have you ever tried to stop gambling but returned?
  • Do you feel bad after a session of gambling is over?
  • When you gamble, do you keep at it until your money runs out?

These questions aren't necessarily diagnostic.

Definition of Problem Gambler

A problem gambler is defined as someone who continues the behavior despite negative consequences in a progressive manner.

How much of a problem gambling becomes depends on how long the addiction continues. Early intervention, before major harm (bankruptcy, divorce, arrest, suicide) occurs is the best choice, but many addicts continue until they can no longer manage the collateral damage and are forced to confront their addiction. It doesn’t have to be that way; there is help available no matter what stage of the addiction you are in.


  1. Gamblers Anonymous, “20 Questions”
  2. Psychologist, Anywhere, Anytime
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