Gambling can be a safe and enjoyable way to spend time as long as it doesn’t become an addiction. You may have family members or friends that is a habitual gambler, and you can tell by some simple signs that they might be having gambling problems.

You must keep your eyes open and observe the gambling patterns of the people around you. Observe your friend or relative and take note of the frequency of his gambling. If your friend prefers gambling over other things that should be given more attention such as his work or family, this is a telltale sign. Moreover, a person with a gambling problem is unusually obsessive about his bets.

If you are close to this person, you may be able privy to the amount of money he’s already lost. If he does not tell you directly, try to engage him in conversation about this – if he is getting addicted to gambling, he will be eager to talk to you about his gambling exploits. See if he is spending an unusually big percentile of his income in gambling, and if he doe, confront him about this. More often than not, this person will be defensive about his habit.

If you happen to be with him when he gambles, try to see how much he bids for each game. If this amount increases significantly especially after he has lost numerous times, he might be addicted. A sensible person will know when to say “no” and realize when he has to quit. As a friend, you may need to intervene when he makes an irrational decision such as betting his car or any other valuable, or make the decision to go to loan sharks.

It might be useful if you prepare a record of all your friend’s losses from the beginning of your observation. This might come in handy when there already needs to be an intervention due to his habit. You may show the involved person this record and point out that this is the amount that he flushed down the drain and could have used to pay bills, tuition or rent. If after you have presented your argument and he still continues to be defensive and continues gambling excessively, he might have become a compulsive gambler.

If you are certain that he already has a gambling problem, you might need to work together with his family and friends to ensure that the situation is remedied so he won’t get into further trouble. Counseling and treatment are available for gambling problems.

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