Am I a Gambling Addict? Evaluating betting behaviors

Jun 4, 2024

If you enjoy gambling and frequently do so, reaching the point where you ask yourself, “Am I a Gambling Addict?” may feel daunting. It's important to understand that questioning your behaviors and habits is a healthy sign of self-awareness and open-mindedness. It’s also sometimes the first step to realizing that there is a serious problem that needs to be addressed. 

In this article, you'll find the tools to determine if you or someone you know might have a gambling addiction. We will detail what it means to be a gambling addict, the warning signs, how gambling addiction is diagnosed, how to assess your behaviors, ways to begin recovery and how to help yourself or others through treatment.

What it means to be a Gambling Addict

Being a gambling addict means having an uncontrollable urge to gamble, regardless of winning or losing money. This compulsive behavior exceeds one's budget or intent, driven by dopamine receptors in the brain that trigger a thrill and the constant chase for a greater reward. Gambling addiction is a chronic mental health condition and behavioral addiction.

If you are a gambling addict, you may experience any or all of the following:

  • Financial losses and impacts on financial stability

  • Negative impacts on job performance or suffering poor grades in school

  • Strained relationships with close friends & family

  • Anxiety or depression

  • Increased alcohol and drug use

Warning signs of Problem Gambling

Recognizing warning signs of gambling addiction can be challenging, especially since individuals often hide their behaviors, and there are usually no physical signs like with other addictions. Here are some indicators of problem gambling:

Financial Problems:

  • Gambling with increasing amounts of money to maintain excitement

  • Borrowing money from friends or loved ones to gamble

  • Taking out loans 

  • Difficulty paying bills

  • Selling household valuables or sacrificing living essentials

Decline in Personal Wellbeing:

  • Irritation and restlessness when trying to cut back on gambling

  • Constantly thinking about the next wager

  • Resulting conflict with colleagues, friends or family

  • Chasing losses

  • Absences from important events

  • Poor performance at work or school

  • Changes in personality

  • Gambling while in an emotional state or under the influence of drugs or alcohol

How Gambling Addiction is diagnosed

Gambling Addiction is classified as a non-substance behavioral addiction by The American Psychiatric Association’s Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). Psychologists and licensed counselors use a nine-item assessment to diagnose and grade the severity of gambling addiction. An individual who exhibits four or more of these behaviors within a 12-month period may be diagnosed with gambling disorder:

  1. Preoccupation with gambling

  2. Need to gambling with increasing amounts

  3. Restless or irritable when attempting to cut down gambling

  4. Unsuccessful efforts to control or stop gambling

  5. Gambling as a means to cope with helpless, guilty, anxious or depressed feelings

  6. Returning to get even after losing money (“chasing” one’s losses)

  7. Lying to hide the extent of gambling measures

  8. Has jeopardized or lost a significant relationship, job/educational or career opportunity because of gambling

  9. Relies on others to provide money for desperate financial bailouts caused by gambling

How to assess potential Problem Gambling behaviors

The DSM-5 diagnostic survey is a great way to assess where you stand in relation to your gambling habits, but if you want to monitor yourself or a loved one in the gray areas, consider assessing these indicators:

1. Monitor Frequency and Duration:

Keep track of how often and how long the individual spends gambling.

2. Financial Scrutiny:

Observe changes in financial behavior, such as requests for loans, selling personal items or unexplained debts.

3. Emotional Indicators:

Look for signs of distress, anxiety or depression that correlate with gambling activities. Gambling can lead to emotional highs and lows.

4. Social Withdrawal:

Notice if the person is withdrawing from family, friends or social activities. Problem Gambling often leads to isolation.

5. Lying or Secrecy:

Pay attention to whether the individual is being dishonest about their gambling habits. Lying about the extent of their gambling is a common trait.

6. Chasing Losses:

Check if the person continues to gamble in an attempt to recover losses. This is a key behavior in gambling addiction.

7. Neglecting Responsibilities:

Assess if gambling is causing the individual to neglect work, educational or personal responsibilities.

How to begin recovery for Gambling Addiction

As we’ve outlined previously, the path to recovery starts with the willingness to acknowledge, accept and address the fact that you could or do have a Gambling Addiction. Like a drug or alcohol addiction, a key way to begin recovery is through the desire to get better. Once you establish your intent and your commitment, it’s time to seek professional help, like the services of Birches Health. 

Understanding the process for Gambling Disorder treatment

Birches Health understands that Gambling Addiction is not “one size fits all.” For some, the Birches process starts off with a self-assessment to determine the best course of action, if any is needed. If treatment is the path forward, one of our clinicians then creates a personalized care plan tailored to your needs. With a team of licensed counselors with decades of experience and zero out-of-pocket costs for many individuals, Birches Health provides affordable, convenient treatment from the comfort of home.

As part of the treatment plan, it may be recommended to: 

  • Implement financial controls

  • Develop coping strategies

  • Participate in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to address underlying issues

  • Consider medication to treat co-occurring mental issues like depression and anxiety

  • Create and establish routines

  • Developing strategies and skills to prevent relapse, such as avoiding triggers and handling stress effectively.

  • Establish an Aftercare Plan: Regular follow-up appointments to monitor progress and adjust the care plan if necessary

To supplement the treatment plan, you may also consider:

  • Group Therapy to listen and learn from shared experiences

  • Family Therapy to address resulting relationship issues and foster a supportive environment

Helping someone you know who may be a Gambling Addict

1. Educate Yourself:

Learn about gambling addiction, the causes and its symptoms to understand what the person is experiencing.

2. Communicate Openly:

Approach the person with compassion and without judgment. Express your concerns and offer your support, plus make them aware of available resources that may help.

3. Encourage Professional Help:

Suggest that the individual seek help from a healthcare provider or an addiction specialist.

4. Offer Practical Support:

Help them research resources and treatment options, and offer to accompany them to appointments if they wish.

5. Set Boundaries:

Establish clear boundaries to protect yourself and avoid enabling the gambling behavior.

6. Support Recovery:

Encourage and support their recovery efforts, celebrating small victories and providing encouragement during potential setbacks.

7. Avoid Financial Bailouts:

Do not lend money or pay off their debts, as this can enable the gambling behavior.

Sources:

Gambling addiction

Could I have a gambling problem?  

Gambling Disorder

Massachusetts aims to expand Problem Gambling research, resources

Jun 20, 2024

Jonathan

Lies Gamblers Tell

Jun 19, 2024

Jonathan

Pathological Gambling: How to assess it & get help today

Jun 18, 2024

Jonathan

North Carolina Sports Betting: May 2024 Stats & Figures

Jun 17, 2024

Jonathan

Slot Machines on U.S. Military Bases Could be Banned

Jun 16, 2024

Jonathan

Gamblers Anonymous alternatives: Virtual treatment from home

Jun 13, 2024

Jonathan

Can I Make A Lot of Money Gambling? Betting Chances Explained

Jun 12, 2024

Jonathan

Gambling Debts: Resources to Help in 2024 

Jun 12, 2024

Jonathan

The Psychology of Gambling Addiction

Jun 9, 2024

Jonathan

Gambling Addiction Help Online: Virtual Treatment Guide

Jun 8, 2024

Jonathan

Do I have a Gambling Problem? How to assess betting habits

Jun 6, 2024

Jonathan

Holistic Therapy: What It Is, Benefits, and Concerns

Jun 5, 2024

Jonathan

Betting Vs Gambling – What's the Difference?

Jun 5, 2024

Jonathan

Exploring Video Game Gambling

Jun 5, 2024

Jonathan

Am I a Gambling Addict? Evaluating betting behaviors

Jun 4, 2024

Jonathan

My Dad Has a Gambling Addiction: How to Help

Jun 4, 2024

Jonathan

The Connection Between Gambling and Social Media

May 31, 2024

Jonathan

Gambling Recovery: How to start the journey today

May 31, 2024

Jonathan

Problem Gambling behaviors to avoid during summer break

May 30, 2024

Jonathan

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Gambling Addiction

May 29, 2024

Jonathan

Gambling & Alcohol: Bettors More Likely to Binge Drink

May 28, 2024

Jonathan

10 Gambling Addiction Facts: Understanding Problem Gambling

May 27, 2024

Jonathan

Exploring Female Gambling Addiction

May 25, 2024

Jonathan

Navigating the World of Pattern Day Trading: Is it Gambling?   

May 24, 2024

Jonathan

Symptoms of Gambling Addiction: Problem Gambling Effects on You 

May 23, 2024

Jonathan

How big of a problem is Gambling Addiction in the United States?

May 22, 2024

Jonathan

The Science of Addiction

May 21, 2024

Jonathan

Family Therapy for Gambling Addiction

May 20, 2024

Jonathan

What is Residential Treatment for Gambling Addiction

May 17, 2024

Jonathan

Group Therapy for Gambling Addiction

May 16, 2024

Jonathan

Lottery Addiction: Guide to Help and Recovery 

May 15, 2024

Jonathan

Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Gambling Addiction

May 15, 2024

Jonathan

10 Gambling Addiction Quotes: From Realization to Recovery

May 14, 2024

Jonathan

Help For Family Members of Gambling Addicts

May 13, 2024

Jonathan

Essential Books on Gambling Addiction

May 11, 2024

Jonathan

Is Day Trading Legal?

May 4, 2024

Jonathan

Hypnotherapy for Gambling Addiction

May 3, 2024

Jonathan

Dangerous Gaming: Dave & Buster's introduces betting on arcade games 

May 2, 2024

Jonathan

The Relationship Between Problem Gambling and Suicide

Apr 30, 2024

Jonathan

Self Help for Gambling Addiction

Apr 29, 2024

Jonathan

Can poker become an addiction?

Apr 27, 2024

Jonathan

Naltrexone for Gambling Addiction

Apr 26, 2024

Jonathan

Understanding the Stages of Gambling Addiction

Apr 25, 2024

Jonathan

What Are The Negative Effects of Gambling

Apr 22, 2024

Jonathan

Gambling Addiction Intervention

Apr 20, 2024

Jonathan

Overview of 12-Step Program for Gambling Addiction 

Apr 19, 2024

Jonathan

Support Groups for Gambling Addiction

Apr 16, 2024

Jonathan

Managing Gambling Addiction Relapses

Apr 12, 2024

Jonathan

U.S. Sports Betting Statistics April 2024: Legalization, growth & addiction rising

Apr 12, 2024

Jonathan

My Mom Has a Gambling Addiction: What to Do

Apr 8, 2024

Jonathan

Understanding In-Network and Out-of-Network Providers for Behavioral Addictions

Apr 1, 2024

Jonathan

Has America become a “society of gamblers”?

Mar 28, 2024

Jonathan

How Can I Stop My Child From Gambling

Mar 27, 2024

Jonathan

Birches Health Partners with BettorEdge

Mar 20, 2024

Jonathan

Birches Health Announces Partnership with SaharaBets

Mar 19, 2024

Jonathan

Gambling Addiction Rates Hit All-Time High in U.S.

Mar 13, 2024

Jonathan

Signs of Teen Gambling

Mar 13, 2024

Jonathan

Free Gambling Addiction Treatment

Feb 29, 2024

Jonathan

SNL Sports Betting sketch spotlights real Gambling Addiction issues 

Feb 26, 2024

Jonathan

New U.S. Gambling Stats: Record figures as Addiction also grows

Feb 22, 2024

Jonathan

What will be the social costs of increased gambling? Who will pay them?

Feb 19, 2024

Jonathan

Is it Legal to Bet on the Daytona 500?

Feb 16, 2024

Jonathan

Media Takes Note of America's Increase in Problem Gambling

Feb 15, 2024

Jonathan

What are the Psychological Effects of Gambling?

Jan 31, 2024

Jonathan

Is Day Trading Gambling?

Feb 11, 2024

Jonathan

What are the Different Types of Gamblers?

Feb 12, 2024

Jonathan

Understanding Behavior Disorders

Jan 23, 2024

Jonathan

The Gambling Addiction Recovery, Investment, And Treatment (GRIT) Act

Jan 14, 2024

Jonathan

What is the Cycle of Addiction and How to Break It

Jan 9, 2024

Jonathan

I Lost All My Money Gambling. What Now?

Dec 29, 2023

Jonathan

Your 2024 New Year's Resolution: Stop Sports Betting and Online Gambling

Dec 24, 2023

Elliott

Why Do Addicts Relapse?

Dec 20, 2023

Jonathan

Is Gambling a Sin?

Dec 18, 2023

Jonathan

Staging a Gambling Intervention for a Loved One

Dec 13, 2023

Jonthan

Signs of Gambling Addiction in a Spouse

Nov 30, 2023

Jonathan

Gambling and Divorce: Statistics and Information

Nov 26, 2023

Jonathan

What is DFS Gambling?

Nov 19, 2023

Jonathan

Addiction Specialist: Helping You Overcome Addiction

Nov 18, 2023

Jonathan

Exploring the Different Types of Gambling

Nov 8, 2023

Jonathan

Technology Addiction: Signs and Treatment

Oct 30, 2023

Jonathan

Is Options Trading Gambling?

Oct 23, 2023

Jonathan

Gambling Addiction and Treatment

Oct 16, 2023

Jonathan

Sex Addiction Treatment and Therapy Options

Oct 14, 2023

Jonathan

Signs of Gambling Addiction

Oct 7, 2023

Jonathan

Is the Stock Market Gambling?

Sep 25, 2023

Jonathan

Tips for Finding a Gambling Rehab Center

Sep 24, 2023

Jonathan

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Pathological Gambling

Sep 23, 2023

Jonathan

What Causes Porn Addiction?

Sep 18, 2023

Jonathan

Video Game Addiction

Sep 16, 2023

Jonathan

Porn Addiction Signs & Symptoms

Sep 11, 2023

Jonathan

Gambling Addiction Withdrawal Symptoms & Signs

Aug 29, 2023

Jonathan

How to Stop Online Gambling

Aug 27, 2023

Jonathan

Does Medicare Cover Gambling Rehab?

Aug 19, 2023

Jonathan

Gambling and Dopamine

Aug 12, 2023

Jonathan

Porn Addiction Counseling

Aug 7, 2023

Jonathan

Is Fantasy Football Gambling?

Jul 24, 2023

Jonathan

Signs of a Day Trading Problem

Jul 19, 2023

Jonathan

Why is Gambling Addictive?

Jul 18, 2023

Jonathan

The Arizona Lottery and Gambling

Jul 16, 2023

Jonathan

Is Poker Gambling?

Jul 15, 2023

Jonathan

Is Crypto Gambling?

Jul 14, 2023

Jonathan

Gambling and Sports Betting Among College Students

Jul 8, 2023

Jonathan

Updates made to gambling disorder across the DSM-III, DSM-IV, DSM-5

Updates Made to Gambling Disorder Clinical Criteria Between DSM-III, DSM-IV, and DSM-5

Jul 8, 2023

Cara Anderson

Combatting Gambling and Alcohol Addiction

Jun 30, 2023

Jonathan

Medication for Gambling Addiction

Jun 27, 2023

Jonathan

The Seven Types of Gamblers: Are You One of Them?

Jun 25, 2023

Elliott Rapaport

10 Questions to Ask If You Think Your Loved One Has a Gambling Problem

Jun 24, 2023

Cara Anderson

Las Vegas - often called the gambling capital of the world

Exploring the History of Gambling in the US

Jun 17, 2023

Elliott Rapaport

Gambling Treatment in Arizona

Jun 15, 2023

Jonathan

Voluntary Self Exclusion to Stop Online Gambling

Jun 15, 2023

Cara Anderson

Does Blue Cross Blue Shield Cover Gambling Treatment?

Jun 13, 2023

Jonathan

Gambling Addiction Hotline

Jun 5, 2023

Jonathan

How to Stop Gambling

Jun 1, 2023

Jonathan

Can Gambling Addiction Be Cured?

May 31, 2023

Jonathan

problem gambler worried about addiction

Why Is Gambling So Addictive?

May 30, 2023

Elliott Rapaport

Medication that can cause gambling

Abilify and Compulsive Gambling

May 26, 2023

Jonathan

A man who has regained control of his life by stopping gambling and online sports betting

How to Stop Gambling: Strategies for Regaining Control

May 21, 2023

Cara Anderson

This man stopped gambling by recognizing his online sports betting problem

How to Stop Gambling and Save Money

May 18, 2023

Cara Anderson

People celebrating being free of a gambling addiction

How to Help Someone with a Gambling Addiction

May 16, 2023

Elliott Rapaport

The Growing Phenomenon of Cryptocurrency Addiction: What Traders Need to Know About Crypto Addiction

Cryptocurrency Addiction

May 9, 2023

Tobias Jackson

The stock market graph of a day trader who has a day trading addiction

How Day Trading Can Create a Dangerous Addiction

May 4, 2023

Elliott Rapaport

Younger individuals gathered around a computer talking about a gambling addiction meme

How Addictive Memes Have Fueled Problem Gamblers

May 2, 2023

Elliott Rapaport

Man in the middle of taking a Do I have a Gambling Problem Quiz

Clinical Screening Tools and Quizzes to Answer the Question: "Do I have a Gambling Problem?"

May 1, 2023

Tobias Jackson

Insurance paperwork that Birches clients do not need to go through as Birches Health handles all administrative and payment matters for them!

Insurance Coverage for Gambling Addiction in 2023

Apr 29, 2023

Elliott Rapaport

Couple hugging as the man has a gambling addiction and the woman, his loved one, is able to support him through it.

Helping a Loved One with a Gambling Addiction

Apr 27, 2023

Cara Anderson

Man actualizing self care and manifesting his recovery journey from problem gambling and gambling addiction

Self Care for Problem Gamblers

Apr 26, 2023

Cara Anderson

Bad effects of glamorization of gambling in the media in films, tv shows, and podcasts

Glamorized Gambling and What To Be Aware Of

Apr 24, 2023

Elliott Rapaport

Therapist offering a problem gambler gambling addiction counseling and treatment

What is Problem Gambling?

Apr 20, 2023

Elliott Rapaport