I’m worried about a good friend of mine. We’ve been hanging out together a lot recently and we go to the casino at least once a week. At first, it was all just for fun; we’d set limits and stop playing when we reached those limits. But recently, I’ve noticed that my friend is spending more than he can really afford. He’s been having problems at work as well, often calling in sick or coming in late because he was up late gambling.
Another disturbing aspect is that he seems to be getting more and more consumed by the game, spending hours researching strategies and often talking about “the next big win” that will make up for all his losses. And when I try talking to him about it, he gets really defensive and brushes off my concerns. Are these signs of gambling addiction? Would appreciate any guidance, especially from those who have been in a similar situation.
Yes, from the details you’ve described, it certainly does seem like your friend is showing significant signs of a potential gambling addiction. The behavior you’ve outlined such as spending more money than he can afford, neglecting work responsibilities, becoming obsessed with strategies for the ‘next big win’, and getting defensive when confronted about it, are warning signs that should be taken seriously.
Intervention is the next crucial step. It’s recommended that you approach your friend about his problem when he’s calm and not preoccupied with gambling. You would need to express your concerns clearly and offer your support without making him feel judged. It’s probable that he will dismiss your concerns or even get angry, but don’t let that deter you. Consider seeking professional assistance if he appears to be in deep denial or if his condition deteriorates further. Resources are available like the National Council on Problem Gambling and Gamblers Anonymous; they offer support and help in dealing with gambling addiction.