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How to recognize signs of problem gambling and steps to take for recovery

How to Recognize Signs of Problem Gambling and Steps To Take For Recovery

Did you know that about 4-6 million Americans struggle with problem gambling? While gambling can be a form of entertainment for some, it poses significant risks and challenges for those who develop problematic gambling behaviors, leading to financial, emotional, and social consequences.

Problem gambling is a compulsive behavior characterized by an uncontrollable urge to gamble, often driven by the hope of winning something of greater value, even at the risk of losing everything one values. This addiction can severely disrupt daily life, causing significant financial, emotional, and social consequences. Problem gambling is also referred to as gambling disorder, pathological gambling, or compulsive gambling.

At NXTBets, we are committed to advocating for responsible gambling practices while providing valuable insights and information to our users. We firmly believe in the importance of promoting safe and controlled gambling habits to ensure the well-being of all individuals involved.

Our platform offers detailed pre-event odds analysis across a variety of sports, including Formula Drift, Nitrocross, Professional Bull Riders (PBR), Power Slap, Skateboarding, Supercross, Surfing, World Long Drive, Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship (BKFC), and Major Arena Soccer League (MASL). We strive to be the definitive source for bettors interested in these niche sports areas, empowering them to make informed decisions based on comprehensive data and expert analysis.

However, we strongly emphasize that our services are intended solely for responsible gaming purposes. We encourage all our users to approach gambling with caution, set reasonable limits, and prioritize their financial and personal well-being. If you or someone you know is struggling with problem gambling, we urge you to seek professional help and utilize the resources available for support.

At NXTBets, we are dedicated to providing a safe and enjoyable environment for our users while promoting the principles of responsible gambling. We believe that with the right tools, knowledge, and mindset, individuals can engage in gambling activities without compromising their overall well-being.

This blog seeks to highlight the common signs of problem gambling and create awareness of its profound impacts.

Recognizing the Signs of Problem Gambling

A casual gambler limits how much they are willing to lose. They are the gamblers who stop when they are losing beyond their limit. A person with problem gambling is always willing to go the extra mile. Distinguishing between a casual gambler and someone struggling with problem gambling requires diligence and attention. Certain unique signs and symptoms point to problem gambling. Let’s explore further!

Financial Signs

  • If you are spending more money on gambling than you can afford, that’s a red flag! 
  • Another prominent sign is when you resort to desperate measures like selling your belongings or borrowing money from friends and family to satisfy your gambling needs.
  • Problem gambling may also manifest through lying to your family to hide how deep you are into gambling. You are highly likely to suffer financial challenges if you are struggling with problem gambling. This can range from unpaid bills to excessive debts.

Behavioral Signs

  • Deception is a common sign when it comes to problem gambling. If you notice that your loved one is creating stories to cover up their losses or hiding the extent of their gambling, they may be struggling with problem gambling. The compulsion of problem gambling can disrupt your life and career. An individual struggling with problem gambling may neglect the responsibilities and relationships they once cherished within the family, at school, or at work.
  • Whereas others gamble to escape from depression, anxiety, guilt, and helplessness, problem gambling in itself may also cause these mental issues. Problem gambling may take a psychological and emotional toll on you. Do not take these signs lightly, as they can exacerbate the already dire situation.
  • Another prominent behavioral sign of problem gambling is the desire to “chase” your losses. Physical and emotional withdrawal symptoms may also occur when you are unable to gamble. Such are primary indicators of the level of dependency. The higher the dependency, the greater the challenge of problem gambling.

Emotional Signs

  • If you are preoccupied with gambling and find yourself always planning on how to bet next time or how much to gamble, you may need professional assistance. The compulsion of problem gambling may cause internal struggle.
  • You will most likely feel ashamed or guilty if you struggle with problem gambling. Sometimes, seeing the effect of your gambling habits on yourself and your loved ones may create a sense of remorse, which comes with an emotional burden. This may particularly push you into withdrawing from loved ones to isolation.
  • Changes in your emotions or feelings towards the activities and relationships you once enjoyed are a telling sign of problem gambling. Turning to gambling to escape negative feelings or alleviate stress is not the right way to go. Such coping mechanisms can create a precarious cycle of causing distress as an outlet for relief.

Physical Indicators

  • Problem gambling may disrupt your sleeping routine, creating a shift in your sleeping patterns. You may notice irregular sleep cycles or insomnia, which reflects the underlying issues related to problem gambling.
  • Appetite fluctuations are another physical telling sign of problem gambling. Anxiety and stress related to problem gambling may manifest physically, emphasizing the link between physical and mental health. Sometimes, you may suffer from physical discomfort, such as stomach problems or headaches.

The signs of problem gambling are interconnected. So, it is common to recognize elements of physical, emotional, financial, and behavioral indicators of problem gambling in your loved one. Such cues should not be a basis for assigning blame. Instead, you should approach problem gambling with empathy and compassion. Don’t hesitate to seek professional help for a successful recovery!

How Gambling Problems Impact Your Life

Problem gambling can have significant consequences on various aspects of an individual’s life. It can affect you and the people around you, whether your loved ones, friends, work colleagues, or employer. Let’s look at some of the impacts of problem gambling.

Financial Impacts of Problem Gambling

Financial issues are probably the most telling signs of problem gambling. Problem gamblers believe money is the cause and solution to all their problems. They often spend more money trying to chase their losses, believing they will hit a jackpot one day. This may not always be the case, and the problem gambler falls further into financial losses.  

If you are struggling with problem gambling, you are likely to suffer the following financial consequences: 

  • Inability to afford basic needs like food, shelter, and clothing 
  • You may lose your savings and assets 
  • Overdue bills 
  • Excessive borrowing from family, friends, and financial institutions 
  • Your property may be repossessed in cases of mortgage 
  • Creditors may auction your household items and other assets 
  • You will always be short of money despite having a continuous flow of income

Impact on Relationships

Problem gambling causes financial, emotional, and social strain. These problems may, in turn, cause strain in relationships with families, friends, peers, employers, and the community in general. 

Financial, social, and emotional distress caused by problem gambling may pose a heavy burden on your loved one. If you isolate yourself from your partner or friend, a bridge develops between you and them, thus weakening your bonds. 

The lies and secrecy associated with problem gambling can erode trust between you and your family or friends. 

The lack of trust, in turn, makes intimacy fade away. 

Sometimes, the need for more money to gamble and the underlying mental health issues lead to abuse, violence, and conflicts. 

When this happens, you may find it difficult to resolve disputes amicably. Such challenges have been seen to be primary contributors to divorce and separation.

Impacts on Mental and Physical Health

People struggling with problem gambling may suffer depression, stress, migraine, emotional distress, intestinal disorders, and anxiety. 

Problem gambling can also lead to feelings of helplessness and despair. Studies indicate that problem gambling also causes suicidal ideations and even suicide. 

Other impacts of problem gambling on mental and physical health include: 

How Can I Recover From Problem Gambling?

You may be struggling or know someone struggling with gambling problem. While it may be challenging, knowing that recovery is possible is important. Here, we explore some of the actionable steps you can take to recover from problem gambling.

Acknowledgment and Acceptance

The first step to free yourself from problem gambling is to acknowledge that you are facing a challenge and accept that you need help. Problem gamblers do not see their compulsive habits as problems; they only see them as resilience and drive to win. This is not okay.

Seeking Professional Help

Once you have acknowledged a problem, you can effortlessly create a way to pursue professional help. Professional assistance is key in recovery from problem gambling. Professionals hold the expertise, skills, and experience for treating problem gambling. They also treat underlying issues through therapy, counseling, and ongoing support.

If you are struggling with problem gambling, do not hesitate to contact the professionals.

Self-Help Strategies

On top of professional assistance, self-help strategies can also help you successfully navigate recovery. Below are some of the self-help strategies you may consider:

  • Setting limits on gambling activities
  • Exploring alternative activities
  • Practicing mindfulness
  • Adopting self-care techniques to manage and overcome anxiety and stress

Avoid Triggers

Just like in drug addiction, triggers for problem gambling can exacerbate your situation. The best way to do this is to identify your triggers and then avoid them. Your triggers could be certain people, places, or emotions. Identifying and avoiding your triggers helps you to adopt responsible gambling and also to sustain your recovery.

Find Alternatives

Sometimes, all you need to do is to run away from gambling. Instead of seeking to practice responsible gambling, you may explore alternative activities to gambling. Developing interest in playing physical games can help redirect your energy and focus. Spending time with your loved ones, exercising, picking new hobbies, or taking a walk may help you escape gambling.

Managing Finances

Managing your finances is a crucial step in recovery from problem gambling. Poor finance management may encourage and enable irresponsible gambling. Addressing your financial problems, exploring financial counseling, and establishing a clear budget can help you get a good grasp of your financial well-being and regain control over your expenditure on gambling.

Develop Healthy Coping Mechanisms

Problem gambling often brings anxiety, stress, and depression, among other negative emotions. To successfully navigate recovery, you have to deal with and manage any underlying mental health issues. You can achieve this by developing healthy coping mechanisms like exploring healthy emotional outlets, reconnecting with family and friends, and seeking professional help.

Be Patient

Recovery is not an instant shot. It is a gradual journey that needs commitment and patience. During recovery, you must be patient with yourself. You may face certain setbacks, but remember, those are not signs of failure. In fact, setbacks may make you stronger to keep pursuing recovery. Always trust your instincts and be patient.

Building a Support Network

Recovery from problem gambling requires collective support; it is not a one-man army battle. You will need a strong support system comprising your family, friends, support groups, professionals, and the community. People who believe in you and people who may have undergone similar challenges as you can offer you emotional support to overcome problem gambling. They may also help you stay on the right track of recovery.

Additional Tips To Help You Cope

  • Set realistic goals for recovery
  • Reward yourself for your progress
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help
  • There is no shame in seeking treatment

Resources and Support Systems for Problem Gambling

There are various resources and support systems online, and in America that can help you throughout your recovery journey. Here, we highlight some of the key resources and support systems you should consider;

Online Resources for Problem Gambling

  • You can use the RecoverMe mobile app that helps manage problem gambling. This App allows you to track your urges, identify your triggers, and seek professional help.
  • Gamtalk is an online support forum for people struggling with problem gambling. Here, you will learn from people with similar challenges, obtain insights, and receive emotional support.
  • Gamblers Anonymous is another forum to receive help and recover from problem gambling.
  • You can explore Debtors Anonymous, which helps people struggling with financial issues, overspending, and debts. It can assist you in navigating financial challenges.
  • SMART Recovery will specifically be helpful to you if you are looking for self-help strategies to navigate problem gambling. It is science-based and uses modern techniques and approaches to addiction.

If your family or friend is struggling with problem gambling, you may receive help from Gam-Anon on how to live with the problem and help them obtain a better future.

Professional Organizations and Helplines

The National Council on Problem Gambling is one of the key professional helplines to explore if you are struggling with problem gambling. Do you have a gambling problem? Please seek help and call 1-800-GAMBLER (in the US).


Addressing problem gambling is multifaceted and requires collective effort. Recognizing the distinct signs of problem gambling is a key step in recovery. At NXTBets, we acknowledge the negative impacts of problem gambling on individuals and families. We also understand the importance of responsible gambling and encourage the same. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The early signs of problem gambling include borrowing money to gamble, gambling even when you keep losing, and secrecy about your gambling activities.

  • Choose a private place.
  • Select a time when they are calm.
  • Start by expressing your observations and concerns without judgment.
  • Encourage open communication to enable them to share.
  • Offer solutions such as seeking professional help.

Contact your local medical health services, helplines, or addiction counselors. You may also find specialized treatment centers online.

Although there is no cure for problem gambling, it can be managed through treatment, therapy, and ongoing support.

Self-exclusion is when you voluntarily decide to ban yourself from gambling places, including online sites.