How to Recognise your Loved One is Suffering from a Gambling Addiction

From time to time, we can all be in difficult positions or face tempting situations in life, but it’s how you respond and deal with these situations that defines a pathological disorder. Gambling is similar to many forms of addiction, in the way that the issue isn’t with gambling itself but rather how the individual responds to the gambling activities.

Going to the races or betting on the weekends sporting action, for many is a harmless and pleasant activity. However, for those struggling with a gambling addiction, these types of scenarios can spiral out of control and get completely out of hand.

Gambling can have just as much devastating effects as alcohol and drug addiction and gambling addiction may be more prevalent in Ireland than you might think and is certainly on the rise in recent years. Last year in Tabor Lodge, we saw a 3% increase from the year before in clients presenting for treatment due to a gambling addiction, while 25% of clients treated in Tabor Fellowship last year cited gambling as a problem.

Do you know the possible warning signs to watch out for to recognise if your loved one is suffering from a gambling addiction? In this blog, we are going to take a look at some ways to identify a gambling addiction, the common warning signs to watch out for, and then what you can do to help your loved one.


One possible sign to watch out for with a gambling addiction is when it appears your loved one is obsessed about gambling. Constantly talking about gambling and reliving previous big wins, can be a major indication of an addiction. Continuously placing bets on their phone or laptop, or going to the bookies, are also all strong indications. Those suffering from a gambling addiction will regularly say that they are going to quit for good but can’t ever seem to do so. With the advancements in technology and gambling apps / websites, it’s all too easy to gamble, making it extremely challenging to quit and almost impossible without professional help.


A major indicator that a loved one is suffering from an addiction to gambling is when they are experiencing financial issues. These financial problems can include but are not limited to the following:

  • Asking to borrow money regularly to cover rent/mortgage or other living expenses
  • Making excuses for reasons they cannot pay money back
  • Unable to pay bills and getting warnings over failure to pay bills e.g., electricity
  • Cannot afford to buy proper food and purchasing snacks rather than ingredients for meals
  • Trying to convince or charm others into giving them money


Another sign of a gambling problem to look out for is when an individual tries to hide their gambling or lie about it. They may try to conceal receipts and hide bank statements or not admit to gambling when questioned, but it’s vitally important for your loved one to learn that hiding their gambling problem is wrong and something that needs to be addressed, especially when other people’s finances are affected as well as their own.


Ignoring the consequences of their gambling behaviour is another warning sign of gambling addiction. Despite their mounting financial troubles and sometimes even legal issues, if your loved one cannot contain the urge to gamble, they may need to get professional help.


Even if an individual with a gambling problem stops gambling for 24 hours, they can experience withdrawal symptoms. Symptoms to look out for include irritability, anxiety, restlessness, decreased sleep & appetite and even depression. Individuals suffering from an addiction believe they need to gamble in order to feel happy in themselves and almost feel normal again.


Apart from the obvious financial problems which a gambling addiction can lead to, other signs that an individual has a problem can be when other aspects of their daily lives are negatively affected. It may be trouble at work, maintaining relationships with friends, loved ones or partners, or even withdrawing completely from social activities. These all are possible warning signs to look out for.


Those suffering from a gambling addiction will regularly need others to help fund their gambling. However, unfortunately, individuals may also resort to committing fraud, stealing money, or even stealing items to sell for money in order to gamble or to recover their losses. Some may even steal valuable items from home or friends / family in order to fund their gambling or pay their debts. These are all indications that an immediate intervention is needed to help your loved one.


Has your loved one ever expressed remorse or guilt after gambling? This may be a sign of an addiction. Gambling can be a fun activity, but when someone loses control of themselves is where the problems arise. If they feel guilty or remorseful after gambling, they may realise themselves that they have a problem and need to get help.


If you or a loved one is caught in the grip of problem gambling call Tabor Group today to discuss treatment options at 021 4887110 or visit our website on www.taborgroup.ie. Seek help and take the initiative. You don’t need to go through this alone. There are thousands of others out there who are in the same situation. Give us a call at Tabor Group and we will guide you through the various options for treatment. With decades of experience in dealing with gambling addiction, you will be in safe and confidential hands.


Tabor Group provides residential & community-based addiction treatment programmes to men and woman over 18 years of age, who are struggling with addiction to alcohol, drugs, and gambling. If you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction, get help today. We can help you recover in a healthy, friendly environment and beat your addiction. Do not hesitate to contact one of our counsellors today for information by calling +353 (21) 488 7710 for Cork or +353 (1) 639 2962 for Dublin, or alternatively you can email us at info@taborgroup.ie. We can help you.