Who is a problem gambler?
- is always thinking about gambling or how to get money to gamble with
- often gambles larger amounts of money or over a longer period of time than intended
- needs to increase the size or number of bets to reach a high of excitement
- experiences restlessness or becomes very nervous or upset if unable to gamble
- repeatedly loses money by gambling and returns another day to win back losses (chasing)
- repeats efforts to reduce or stop gambling
- often gambles when expected to meet social or work obligations
- misses important social, work, or recreational activities in order to gamble
- continues to gamble even though they cannot pay back the debts they have or despite other significant social, work, or legal problems are complicated by gambling
When a gambling problems exists, many of these behaviours are present well before the gambler suffers a major financial crisis.
Problem gambling phases:
- While the gambler is winning, he/she feels lucky, important, and likes who they are
- Their self-esteem is high
- The occasional loss is considered just bad luck
- When losses increase, the gambler becomes less confident, begins borrowing money to get even and hides the losses by borrowing more money
- Lies, loan frauds, absenteeism, family disputes, and job changes are common danger signals
- The gambler becomes obsessed with getting even to cover stolen money, hidden withdrawals from family bank accounts, and secret loans
- The gambler panics at the thought that the gambling action will cease if the credit or bail outs stop
- The gambler can experience severe mood swings and suicide may be attempted as a way out
Hope for recovery
Compulsive gambling is a diagnosable, treatable condition that affects the gambler, family, employer and community. It is called the "hidden illness" since there is no smell on the breath nor stumbling of steps or speech. Nonetheless, it is as debilitating as an alcohol or drug problem.
Problem gambling questions
If you believe you have a problem with gambling; ask yourself these questions:
- Do you lose time from work due to gambling?
- Does gambling make your home life unhappy?
- Does gambling affect your reputation?
- Do you ever feel remorse after gambling?
- Do you ever gamble to get money with which to pay debts or otherwise solve financial difficulties?
- Does gambling cause a decrease in your ambition or efficiency?
- After losing, do you feel you must return as soon as possible and win back your losses?
- After a win, do you have a strong urge to return and win more?
- Do you often gamble until your last dollar is gone?
- Do you ever borrow to finance your gambling?
- Do you ever sell anything to finance gambling?
- Are you reluctant to use "gambling money" for normal expenditures?
- Does gambling make you careless about the welfare of your family?
- Do you ever gamble longer than you planned?
- Do you ever gamble to escape worry or trouble?
- Do you ever commit, or consider committing, an illegal act to finance your gambling?
- Does gambling cause you to have difficulties sleeping?
- Do arguments, disappointments, or frustrations create within you an urge to gamble?
- Do you have an urge to celebrate good fortune by a few hours of gambling?
- Do you ever consider suicide as a result of your gambling?
If you answer "yes" to at least seven of the twenty questions you could have a compulsive gambling problem.