We’re winding down summer with some great news: Our commercial spot, “Know Someone in Over Their Head?” was nominated for an Emmy! We’re honored to have our message selected from hundreds of entries in the Mid-Atlantic Region. If you haven’t seen it yet, you can watch the 15-second spot on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bi_8Y-ALczM.
For many problem gamblers, being “in over their head” or feeling like they are drowning all-too-accurately describes the cycle of gambling addiction. Today, we’ll talk about how to identify the warning signs of gambling addiction in a loved one, and how to break through with a lifeline to recovery, whether they’re struggling with an addiction to Atlantic City casino gambling, online betting or daily fantasy sports play.
How to Tell If A Loved is in Over Their Head
“Not Waving But Drowning”
Nobody heard him, the dead man,
But still he lay moaning:
I was much further out than you thought
And not waving but drowning.
Smith’s well-known poem “Not Waving But Drowning” presents an apt metaphor for the situation that many problem gamblers find themselves in. To an outside observer, someone with a gambling addiction might seem untroubled – but problem gambling isn’t called a “hidden addiction” for nothing.
Unlike a drug or alcohol addiction, gambling addiction is accompanied by relatively few physical warning signs. Furthermore, someone with a gambling problem might do their best to hide their addiction, usually out of guilt, denial or fear of hurting their loved ones. However, a seemingly composed appearance could hide a person who is frightened, overwhelmed and in need of immediate help.
Although problem gambling can be difficult to identify, there are usually at least a few outward signs that manifest. If someone you know is exhibiting any of the following signs, it’s time to have the conversation:
Signs of Gambling Addiction
- Personality changes (for example, someone with an ordinarily cheerful temperament becomes irritable and depressed)
- Borrowing money with increased frequency
- Less time spent at home than usual
- Frequent absences from work or school
- Gambling to celebrate achievements and/or gambling after a stressful event
- Health problems like hypertension and ulcers
- Inexplicable bills, debt collection calls, bounced checks or checking account/credit card activity
(The above signs are some of the most common, but this is by no means an exhaustive list. To learn more, visit the Resource Articles page on our site.)
How Can I Help?
Know the signs of problem gambling. If someone you love displays the symptoms of gambling addiction, reach out and offer them that crucial lifeline of support, treatment and hope.
Our hotline, 1-800-GAMBLER, is open 24/7 to problem gamblers and concerned loved ones in need of help. By calling, you’ll be connected to information on treatment programs, resources for recovery, and a supportive network of caring community members, including Gamblers Anonymous Meetings in Monmouth, NJ, and surrounding towns. Even if your loved one thinks they are in too deep with racetrack wagering or other forms of gambling, it’s never too late to come up for air.