When does gambling become a problem?

Need to bet with increasing amounts of money to have the same excitement. Try to control, reduce or stop the game, without success.

When does gambling become a problem?

Need to bet with increasing amounts of money to have the same excitement. Try to control, reduce or stop the game, without success. Of course, you can also have a problem with the game without being totally out of control. Gambling problems are any gambling behavior that disturbs your life.

If you are worried about gambling, you spend more and more time and money on it, chase losses or gamble despite the serious consequences in your life, you have a problem with gambling. If gambling becomes a problem, it can lead to low self-esteem, stress, anxiety and depression. Research, treatment and prevention of gambling problems should be encouraged. A clinician will provide a detailed evaluation and develop an appropriate treatment plan, based on the individual's needs.

Treatment and assistance may need to address various aspects of the person's life, family, education, financial issues, any legal issues and professional status. Anyone who suspects they have a gambling addiction should seek help. A health care provider may refer the person to an appropriate treatment provider. Unfortunately, it will take more than a significant loss to get someone to stop playing, as troubled players still get a high with the game, regardless of whether they win or lose.

Increased accessibility, for example, through online gambling, requires greater awareness and appropriate legislation. Some people engage in periodic gambling binges rather than regularly, but the emotional and financial consequences will be the same. People sometimes say they feel like they should have noticed it sooner, but remember that the person playing may have done everything they could to hide it from you. If you realize that you bet more than you can afford to lose, borrow money, or feel stressed and anxious about gambling, you may have a problem.

You may have spent a lot of time and energy trying to keep your loved one from playing or having to cover for them. Committing illegal acts to obtain money for the purpose of gambling or recovering losses is a sign of the immediate need for intervention. Feeling like playing is normal, but as you build healthier options and a strong support network, resisting cravings will become easier. As the depth of the problem becomes clear, family and friends may become more insistent and unable to understand why the player can't “just stop”.

Unfortunately, this almost always leads to a cycle in which the player feels they must recover their losses, and the cycle continues until the person is forced to seek rehabilitation to break their habit. For a person addicted to gambling, the sensation of playing is equivalent to taking a drug or drinking something. However, other people should be careful, as gambling as a leisure activity can quickly turn into a compulsive disorder. Personal financial strategies for the loved ones of problem gamblers (PDF): how to deal with financial problems due to a loved one's gambling.

Gambling addiction becomes destructive, but the player continues despite the negative consequences. GamCare provides support and information for members, friends and family of people with gambling problems.

Shirley Cessor
Shirley Cessor

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