When done as a fun (the spirit in which it is intended) thing, gambling can be a wonderful pastime during a long weekend or vacation. Add to this the rare occasions when you beat the house and pocket a couple of dollars and you will understand how gambling can be enjoyable. However, gambling can potentially ruin your entire life if you allow it to control you. That said, how can you tell if gambling is a problem for you or your loved one? Labeled as a “silent killer” due to the fact that the problem rarely stands out, gambling addiction tends to be overlooked, yet it causes severe social and personal consequences. Sure, gambling addicts may seemingly lead normal lifestyles, but in the real sense, there is a serious problem in the background, claims the US National Library of Medicine. Below are some of the signs that gambling is turning or has turned into addiction:

1. Gambling Related Obsession

The obsession that comes with gambling is a common sign of gambling addiction. Certainly, almost every gambler has some level of obsession with gambling, but when the level reaches a point where a person does not care about anything else, it becomes a serious concern. If you become obsessed with gambling, it becomes part of your everyday life, and you cannot think about other more important things.

2. Gambling as a Necessary Component of Happiness

Do you or your loved one gamble in order to be happy? If gambling is a necessity for mood elevation, then gambling addiction is to blame. This is, however, one of the most overlooked signs of gambling addiction. If you or someone you know is gambling to improve his emotions or happiness, then it is a sure sign that the game has become a problem.

3. Denial

Ask any gambling addict if he has a problem and he will confidently answer “no.” This tends to be a common ground among many addicts, not just gamblers. In fact, nothing seems to frustrate addiction treatment more than denial. According to addiction experts, accepting that you have a problem is a giant step towards getting a lasting solution to your problem. If you believe that gambling has become a problem to your loved one yet he or she consistently denies having the problem, seeking professional help could be necessary.

4. Financial Problems

This is perhaps the worst sign of gambling addiction. Casinos present a chance of winning a fortune, and yes, if luck follows you to the house (whether land-based or online) one day, then you will never be shy about gambling. However, if you happen to be unlucky at gambling all the days of your life (and it is actually possible), the house has the potential to siphon your entire bankroll, drugging you into financial problems: you may not be able to meet your family’s basic needs, servicing your car becomes a problem, etc.

5. Unable to Quit

You have discovered that gambling is causing you problems. You try to quit without success. One thing is clear: you have become a gambling addict. Seek help immediately!