In order to have a “gambling addiction” or be a “compulsive gambler,” a person doesn’t have to be out of control with their gambling. Compulsive gamblers can’t control the impulse to gamble, even when they know their gambling has negative consequences for them or those around them. Gambling is something they will engage in, regardless of the consequences. Compulsive gamblers keep gambling whether they’re up or down, broke or flush, happy or depressed. Even when they know the odds are against them, even when they are gambling with borrowed (or stolen) money, people with a gambling addiction can’t refrain from “placing a bet.” (adapted from helpguide.org)
Gambling addiction is sometimes referred to as a “hidden illness” because there are no obvious physical signs or symptoms like there are in drug or alcohol addiction. Problem gamblers typically deny or minimize the problem. They also go to great lengths to hide their gambling.
Unfortunately, with the prevalence of internet gambling and the increase of Indian gaming casinos in recent years, it is often easier for the problem gambler to carry on their behavior, even if those around them are aware of it. If you think someone in your life might have a problem gambling, please call Compassionate Interventions in Portland, Oregon for a free consultation.