Signs and symptoms of problem gambling
When a gambling problems exists, many of these behaviours are present well before the gambler suffers a major financial crisis.
- 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
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
Problem gambling self-assessment
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.