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Warning Signs of Gambling Addiction

Some people think the only things you can be addicted to is alcohol or drugs. In actuality addictions run the gamut from gambling to sex addiction. It is possible to have an addiction to something that doesn’t involve consuming a substance. If you are concerned you or a loved one may have a gambling addiction you are in the right place.

Here are some warning signs of gambling addiction:

  • You gamble to escape. This may be escaping stress, boredom, or problems.

  • You are plagued by bill collectors. If you make enough money to cover your bills and are still haunted by bill collectors this may be an indicator of an addiction.

  • You can’t sleep thinking about gambling. This may be difficulty going to sleep or staying asleep.

  • You have missed time at work to gamble. This can be leaving early or stepping outside to place a bet.

  • You have borrowed money for gambling. This can include money borrowed to gamble or to pay gambling debts.

  • You are gone for long periods of time gambling. You may miss family events or social events.

  • You tell yourself you will stop, but don’t.

  • You gamble when you are disappointed about something

  • Your family hides money for bills so you won’t spend it gambling.

  • Your thoughts are preoccupied with gambling. This may include planning your next venture or thinking about how to finance your next spree.

  • Your tolerance has increased. Just like alcohol or drug addiction, the amount of money involved to get the same rush increases over time.

  • You lie about how much you gamble. You may lie to family, friends, or a therapist.

  • You can’t seem to stop when you are down. This is known as chasing losses.


If you exhibit any of the signs above it is possible you have crossed the line and are dealing with a gambling addiction. If gambling is causing problems in your life in any way that is an indicator it has become a problem. The good news is admitting it is the first step. There are now many resources available for individuals with a gambling addiction. There are 12 step programs, support groups, therapists who specialize in gambling addiction, and in patient treatment programs. Now is a good time to reach out to family and friends and let them know you need help. With support, you can recover.


Gambling addiction is a growing problem in Scotland, Ireland, the UK and the rest of the EU. Castle Craig has served over 10,000 patients over the course of more than 25 years, standing as a landmark for successful residential treatment of addiction and mental health disorders. Call our 24 hour free confidential phone-line for more information: 0808 256 3731. From outside the UK please call: +44 1721 788 006

Page last reviewed and clinically fact-checked | September 18, 2017