Gambling and gaming can be a great pastime, however there comes a time in some gambler’s lives that they seriously need to look at themselves and ask the question, “Am I a gambling addict?” But how do you know if you’re addicted to gambling? In this article, I’m going to look at a few key things that mark a gambling addict from a social or hobby gambler.Firstly, have a look at your thought patterns and see if you can identify if you’re thinking about gambling a lot more than you think you should be. This can be a little tricky to spot because you may not believe its on your mind all the time when in effect it is. For example, are you thinking about gambling regularly while at work? Does your mind wander to gambling while you’re having a conversation with someone about a totally unrelated topic? Are you thinking about it when you’re lying in bed before you go to sleep? Thought patterns like these are attributed to problem or addictive gamblers.Thought patterns can vary however, for example I’m always thinking about gambling because I write about it regularly, have my own gambling-related blog and am a journalist for several online publications relating to the topic, though in saying that, I’m not actually thinking about sitting at a table and playing a game. Can you see where the thought patterns differ?The big one when spotting a problem or addictive gambler is usually in their actions though, and not their thoughts. I know many hobby gamblers who are always at a gambling table in their spare time, or gaming online, but many of them are never playing for money, only playing for the enjoyment of the game.Though don’t just think that because money isn’t involved that it’s not an addiction; this can be categorised as addictive behaviour if your gambling affects other parts of your life like family interactions, or if you cannot control your impulses to gamble despite the fact that you’re not playing for money.But most of all with gamblers comes the financial downsides that addictive gambling usually has tied in with it. If you regularly gamble money that you shouldn’t be spending, money that should be spent on your family, or other general life expenses, then you’re most likely an addicted gambler and have a problem.If any of these things sound like you, it is advisable to seek help in the matter. An addiction to gambling can be just as powerful as one to drugs, alcohol or sex and if not controlled, can take over or ruin your life. In most people the problem is manageable and even curable, though the first step is always seeking help.So remember, have fun with your gambling but don’t let it get out of your control!