How do I know if someone close to me has a problem with gambling?
Gambling is often referred to as the “hidden addiction.” You can’t smell it on their breath or see marks on their body. And some of the indicators for a gambling problem are the same as for other problems (such as depression). For these reasons, it takes a professional to diagnose someone with a gambling disorder.
Still, there are many indications that a gambling problem may be present. If you see any of the below signs in a loved one, you should consider the possibility that they have a gambling problem and seek help.
- Unexplained debt; frequently taking loans
- Money or assets missing
- Bills going unpaid
- Lack of food in the house
- Frequently losing wallet or money
- Financial statements being hidden or lost
- Moodiness, unexplained anger or depression
- Decreased contact with friends
- You or others being emotionally shut out
- Avoidance of scheduled social events or activities
- Less time/interest in hobbies
- Disappearing for periods of time with no explanation
- No time or desire for everyday activities
- Missing too much work / Overuse of sick days and days off
- Using increasing amounts of time to study gambling or gambling related concepts
- Taking an unusual amount of time for normal tasks (such as taking two hours to get milk from the corner store)
Control and/or manipulation
- Secretiveness about activities
- Secret bank accounts/loans/credit cards
- Manipulation by threat, lies or persuasion1
If you are unsure if your loved one may have a gambling problem, you can also take this assessment to see if you may be living with a problem gambler.