“Problem Gambling is gambling to a degree that compromises, disrupts or damages family, personal or recreational pursuits” (National Centre for Social Research)
Problematic Gambling is seen as an ‘invisible addiction’, unlike other forms of addiction there are fewer visible signs e.g. physical deterioration. Many gamblers are able to hide their gambling from family and friends until it becomes a significant problem. If you have a problem with your gambling it may start to or already be affecting your family life, your relationships, your finances, your work or your emotional wellbeing.
Gambling behaviour takes place along a continuum from extreme Pathological Gambling, which can result in major disruption to the individual, their family and friends, through to Social Gambling, where there may be no problems arising. Gamblers can move in and out of the problematic stages of gambling throughout their gambling life.
Here are some common signs of problem gambling:
- The person gambles more than they intended
- Other people are suggesting that the person might have a gambling problem
- The person is feeling guilty about the way he or she gambles
- The person wants to stop betting money and feels as if they can’t
- The person gambling is hiding betting slips, lottery tickets, gambling money or other signs of betting
- There are arguments over how the person gambling is handling money
- The person gambling is borrowing money and not repaying it
- The person gambling is losing time from work or school due to gambling
Additional signs of problem gambling include:
- Preoccupation with gambling (reliving past gambling experiences, planning the next venture or thinking of ways in which to gamble)
- Needing to gamble with increasing amounts of money in order to achieve the desired excitement
- Trying to control, cut down or stop gambling unsuccessfully
- Feeling restless or irritable when attempting to cut down or stop gambling
- Using gambling as a way to escape problems or bad moods (helplessness, guilt, anxiety, depression)
- Returning to gambling after losing money gambling
- Lying to conceal the extent of involvement with gambling
- Committing illegal acts, such as forgery, fraud, theft or embezzlement to finance gambling.
- Jeopardising or losing a significant relationship, job, educational or career opportunity because of gambling.
- Relying on others to get out of debt (bailouts)
The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV)