What exactly is problem gambling? Those in the know define it as a chronic behaviour that affects the major aspects of an individual’s physical, psychological and social health. In this article we’re going to discuss briefly the signs of problem gambling and how individuals who suffer from it can get help.
The collateral damage of problem gambling affects far more than the monetary value of gambling. Approximately 2 million adults in the United States and the United Kingdom are problem gamblers, or are at risk of becoming addicted. Another 6 million adults struggle with problem gambling, in return this often leads to gambling associated crimes, the development of depressive disorders, loss of personal assets and income.
Healthcare professionals identified the following traits which indicate that a person could be a problem gambler:
- The person uses his or her savings/income to gamble while bills go unpaid.
- Numerous failed attempts to stop gambling.
- Thinking of breaking the law to fund their gambling addiction.
- Because of losses the individual often thinks of suicide.
- Gambling behaviour leads to conflict with family or friends.
- Gambling addiction that is compulsive, just like alcohol or substance abuse creates an increasingly difficult situation for the gambler and the gambler’s family.
The following quiz is associated with problem gambling:
- Do you often feel the need to bet more money?
- Have you ever lied to your spouse or a family member about your gambling habits?
- Is gambling an outlet for your physical or emotional pain?
- Do you gamble to pay off your debt?
- Have you borrowed money from a friend or relative to gamble?
- Is your private life unhappy because of gambling?
- Do you gamble to recover the money you’ve lost?
If you answered ”yes” to one or more of the quiz’ questions you might be a problem gambler. Fortunately there’s help for people who suffer from this disorder. The first step is to contact sites like www.gamblersanonymous.com. You’ll be connected to a person (free of charge) that’s a professional in his/her respective field who will be non-judgemental and empathetic.
One of the most effective tools online casinos offer to problem gamblers is the self-exclusion program. This is an opt-in process which allows a self-acknowledged problem gambler to exclude him/her from the casino on a voluntary basis. Other resources offered include support programs, out-patient treatment and counseling.
If you’re a problem gambler, have a friend or relative who is one seek help immediately, in most instances it’s never too late to get help.