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The Madrid College of Psychologists warns that gambling addiction is a problem with serious symptoms and consequences.

Pathological gambling is not a type of vice, or an expression of mental weakness; it is a psychological disorder that affects various aspects of the sufferer's personal, family, work, social and economic life, as their capacity for self-control is affected and they find it difficult to say 'No', and are therefore unable to postpone the impulse or desire to gamble.

6 main symptoms that will allow you to identify a pathological gambler or problem gambler:

1) Irritability

The compulsive gambler is usually easily irritated and expresses his aggressiveness verbally or physically. They commonly reflect a bad mood and do not control their impulses, they are rude.

2) Restlessness to gamble

Because losing or winning becomes a preoccupation for the gambler, the gambler's mood becomes uneasy, affecting his or her state of mind, making it difficult to concentrate on the really important things such as work, family, projects, health, etc. and robbing him or her of a great deal of mental energy, producing an emotional burden and consequently leading the person to depression.

3) Lies

Driven by the disease, the gambler will lie in an effort to avoid being found out about the amount of money he/she uses in his/her gambling or gambling, turning the lie into a habit with the potential risk of developing a personality disorder.

4) Sneak gambling

In his eagerness to be accountable to no one, the gambler will satiate his addiction by sneaking around, finding it exciting and part of the game in one way or another. Gambling without anyone in his family knowing is his chance to savour his addiction, for several hours, until he loses everything.

5) Lends money

It is a good idea for the gambler to lend money to a family member or acquaintance in order to spend it on gambling, thus looking out for his own interest without measuring the consequences, disregarding the possibility of something going wrong (losing) and his obligation to pay back the debt he has acquired.

6) Gambling occupies his mind

The gambler spends all day thinking about the money he won and lost as a result of his vice, taking away his peace of mind and attention. In an extreme form, his attention is focused on the game, to the exclusion of the information that surrounds him.
Fortunately, there are a variety of treatments for the pathological gambler including counselling, self-help groups and psychiatric medication. After going through a real and honest process of change, the person can rehabilitate his or her abilities, including self-control and other behaviours affected by gambling.

If you have a family history of gambling addiction, the clearest and most effective way to prevent gambling addiction is to never gamble.

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