Gambling addiction cannot cause a car accident or make you seriously ill. But it can destroy your life just like an addiction to drugs or alcohol can. Compulsive gambling can wipe out your savings, damage your relationships with your spouse, family and friends, and ruin your career. It can even lead to criminal charges like embezzlement.
It is quite common for an accountant or other white-collar professional who is convicted of or pleads guilty to embezzlement to have a gambling addiction. People who ordinarily would not think of violating their clients’ trust can be pushed to do desperate things by the compulsion to gamble after suffering heavy losses.
Signs of a gambling addiction
Like alcohol, most people can indulge in gambling in moderation without it taking over their lives. But anyone can be potentially susceptible to developing an addiction to it. Symptoms of a gambling compulsion include:
- A preoccupation with gambling and finding money to gamble with.
- Needing to make increasingly large bets to feel the same thrill.
- Failed attempts to quit or cut back on gambling.
- Chasing losses — placing bets to try to make up for big losses.
- Asking friends and relatives to borrow money to cover gambling losses.
- Lying about the existence or extent of gambling debts.
Treatment options include therapy, medication and participation in self-help groups like Gamblers Anonymous. Unfortunately, many addicts don’t recognize that they need help until after they have been arrested and charged with a serious crime. The law does not care if you have an addiction. If you have been accused of embezzlement, you need representation from a defense attorney who is experienced in white-collar crime cases.