15 Potentially Terrifying Gambling Addiction Symptoms
Did you know that gambling addiction symptoms are terrifyingly like those experienced by people addicted to hard drugs like cocaine or heroin?
This is because the same centers of the brain – the pleasure centers – are activated, no matter what the addiction source may be.
These frightening symptoms include a medley of items from mood swings to compulsive lying, sociopathy to illegal pursuits.
The symptoms of an addiction to gambling are terrifying and have the potential to slowly encompass every part of your life, and they do so by getting rid of anything not related to gambling.
Every other thing – including work, school, friends, hobbies, personal hygiene, and family – become unimportant as your very body itself turns against you, forcing the addicted person to seek out their next high as priority above all else.
- 1. Gambling addiction leads to mood swings
- 2. Gambling addiction affects daily interactions and general modus operandi
- 3. Gambling addiction leaves one very single minded
- 4. Gambling addiction limits healthy social interactions
- 5. Gambling addiction encourages criminal behaviors
- 6. Gambling addiction breaks relationships
- 7. Gambling addiction turns people into thieves
- 8. Gambling addiction leads to severe depression
- 9. Gambling addiction makes people into compulsive liars
- 10. Gambling addiction goes hand in hand with alcohol and drug abuse
- 11. Gambling addiction leads to illusions of grandeur
- 12. Gambling addiction creates symptoms similar to sociopathy
- 13. Gambling addiction impacts the emotive centers of the brain (the parts that process and make sense of emotions)
- 14. Gambling addiction leads to permanent neurological conditioning (the brain functions normally only when gambling)
- 15. Gambling addiction leads to antisocial behavior
1. Gambling addiction leads to mood swings
One of the most noticeable gambling addiction symptoms are the mood swings.
These happen for two reasons.
The first (and perhaps most obvious) is that people with addictions experience withdrawal symptoms when they are forced to go too long without fulfilling whatever gives them their high.
Mood swings are one of the most common withdrawal symptoms, often occurring simultaneously with shaking, itching, and panic attacks.
The second reason an individual with a gambling addiction may experience mood swings is that they are on an emotional roller coaster.
Gambling brings an adrenaline rush that sends players sky high.
When the rush is over, however, the adrenaline leaves their bodies and they experience a very hard let down that has them seeking to bring themselves up once more.
2. Gambling addiction affects daily interactions and general modus operandi
When a person experiences an addiction to gambling their daily lives are typically affected in noticeable ways.
They may start to avoid interactions they would previously have sought out.
They will avoid dating, friends, lifelong hobbies, overtime at work, or anything that may take away from time which could be spent gambling.
At work or school, they may stop playful banter or casual conversations they would normally have engaged in, instead appearing withdrawn or lost in their own thoughts.
This is due to the fact their thoughts are focused solely on when they will next be able to get their high, which does not leave much room for concentration on anything else.
3. Gambling addiction leaves one very single minded
An addicted mind is a one-track mind.
It is a mind focused exclusively on when it will be able to experience the adrenaline rush of gambling once more.
This leaves no room for other thoughts, which can cause significant issues in a person’s life.
Notable events like birthdays, anniversaries, or even work project’s due dates are forgotten.
Eventually an addicted individual will be unable to remember the day of the week or even what month it is.
One day runs directly into another one in a whirlwind of late nights spent gambling and mornings spent recovering from them.
Social interactions have been psychologically proven to be beneficial for not only our mental health, but our physical health as well.
Multiple studies have shown that people who spend time with their friends at least once a week are both happier and live longer.
Gambling, unfortunately, limits the amount of these healthy social interactions you can have.
Without them, people may end up being anxious, depressed, suicidal, sick more often due to a lowered immune system, generally more stressed out, and overall less healthy than prior to their addiction when they made time for their personal relationships.
5. Gambling addiction encourages criminal behaviors
A gambling addiction can cost a LOT of money.
When a person’s money runs out, they often turn to their friends, family members, neighbors, or even coworkers for the money which gambling requires.
Eventually, however, nobody is willing to lend anymore money because those debts almost always go unpaid – because paying them back would take away from the funds you could potentially use for gambling.
Once all other outlets are no longer available, many individuals will turn towards illegal activities to fund their addiction.
Once faced with the possibility of being unable to gamble, addicted persons will panic and become willing to do anything which funds their obsession.
Common illegal activities which may be engaged in might include: becoming involved with a criminal organization, stealing, dealing drugs, robbing people or vehicles, stripping, or prostitution.
6. Gambling addiction breaks relationships
With room for nothing else in your life besides gambling, your relationship soon starts to crumble away.
Your partner, no matter how devoted, can only take so much before they reach their breaking point and leave.
Your partner needs at least a little bit of your time and effort to stay happy within the relationship.
The compulsive lying, angry outbursts, and more which appear as gambling addiction symptoms may quickly prove to be too much for even the strongest relationships to withstand.
Although we speak primarily of intimate relationships, know that gambling addiction has the potential to break relationships of any caliber.
It has the potential to destroy your relationship with friends, parents, siblings, children, and anyone else whom you have a connection with.
7. Gambling addiction turns people into thieves
A person with a gambling addiction may soon find they have sticky fingers.
They may develop a tendency to pocket valuable items they find around people’s homes when they visit so they can pawn it off for more money to fuel their addiction.
They may even be so desperate to get that next adrenaline rush that they rob stores or begin breaking into vehicles left unattended in parking lots of driveways.
Desperation can turn a good person with strong morals into a thief as they continue farther down into the depths of gambling addiction.
Eventually people will no longer allow the obsessed individual into their homes for fear of more items coming up ‘missing’.
8. Gambling addiction leads to severe depression
The reason gambling is so addictive is that it causes an adrenaline rush.
This rush is huge when you win, but even occurs to a smaller degree while waiting for the roulette wheel to spin or that last poker card to be flipped over.
It can be exhilarating to watch as the horse or dog you chose to win slowly inches their way to the front of the group.
Unfortunately, what goes up must always come down.
Individuals with a gambling addiction come down hard when the adrenaline leaves their bodies, or their bets turn out to be losses.
Months of these extreme highs and lows can lead to severe depression, where a person feels sad, empty, and worn down after each long night spent gambling.
If allowed to become bad enough, depression can even lead to thoughts of suicide.
9. Gambling addiction makes people into compulsive liars
People with addictions are not able to think properly, and they will go to great lengths to ensure they are able to make it to their next gambling session.
One gambling addiction symptom that proves this is the way people slowly begin to turn into compulsive liars.
It starts with a little white lie about where your final $20 went.
Then you begin to lie about where you’ve been all night, because you don’t want anyone to know that you were once again out gambling.
Then you lie about paying back funds borrowed, or the illegal activities used to fuel your addiction.
Eventually, the lying becomes a habit and you lie about things where it is unnecessary.
10. Gambling addiction goes hand in hand with alcohol and drug abuse
An addictive personality means that someone is more prone to become addicted to something than other people.
Most individuals with an addiction of any form (including gambling) have these addictive personalities, and it puts them at serious risk for developing yet more addictions.
Gambling, for example, goes hand in hand with both alcohol and drug abuse.
With clouded judgement you begin drinking while sitting at the slot machines, and after months of doing this you find that alcohol is now something your body says it needs.
Your new friends all start doing drugs one night, and you join in.
It becomes a ritual to snort cocaine before each night’s adventures because it makes you awake.
It takes no time to form this new addiction.
11. Gambling addiction leads to illusions of grandeur
The thrill of gambling, even for casual users not addicted, is the win.
When a person wins they feel special.
They feel on top of the world, and seemingly nothing can bring them down.
The average person knows those wins are few and far between.
The addicted person will believe these wins will come far more often than they do.
They will have illusions of grandeur where they win the big jackpot and are able to afford all of life’s luxuries.
They will pay for a new million-dollar home and brand-new, shiny sports car with their winnings.
For the addicted personality, tonight is always the night they will win huge, no matter how many nights they have meandered their way home penniless instead.
12. Gambling addiction creates symptoms similar to sociopathy
A sociopath is defined as person who is prone to a lack of consciousness, while also exhibiting behaviors that are incredibly antisocial.
These sociopathic behaviors are prominent in individuals suffering from gambling addiction.
The addicted person will begin to stop any relationships or social encounters that do not directly relate to their gambling.
Socializations are limited to those people with whom they gamble.
At the same time, they will be unable to feel concern for others, including those that they lie to or steal from.
This occurs because the gambling takes over their mindset, not allowing them to think anything is worthwhile except their addiction.
They fail to realize how their actions will affect those around them.
13. Gambling addiction impacts the emotive centers of the brain (the parts that process and make sense of emotions)
This gambling addiction symptom has to do with the fact that your brain is chemically altered and rewired due to the addiction.
It prioritizes anything to do with gambling as more important than others, and eventually this leads to it being the only important thing in your life.
The emotive centers of the brain will only have capabilities of being activated when what you are doing is gambling.
Only this will bring about joy, excitement, or fulfillment.
Simultaneously, you will react needlessly with anger, resentment, or sadness when in situations not pertaining to gambling or when someone worried about your situation suggests you get help.
14. Gambling addiction leads to permanent neurological conditioning (the brain functions normally only when gambling)
In the previous item we talked about how your brain becomes wired differently or chemically altered when addicted to gambling.
This results in a permanent shift in the way your brain operates.
This is the reason behind the adage “once an addict, always an addict“.
Although recovery is always possible with determination and vast amounts of effort, you may feel small inklings of desires to gamble even ten years in the future.
Recovery, therefore, focuses on teaching you how to deal with these desires in a way that doesn’t feed them.
With gambling addiction encompassing your entire life there doesn’t leave much room for anything else.
A person with this problem will soon begin developing antisocial behaviors where they avoid the people and places they once enjoyed in lieu of time at the casino or race track.
They will bail on their weekly night out with friends or cancel plans for date night with their significant other.
They will miss family get-togethers and leave their children’s games or recitals early.
Farther into the addiction they will begin to avoid people who they owe money, no matter how important those individuals were to them prior to the beginning of their addiction.