Some people enjoy gambling as they would enjoy a game, but for certain people it can become an addiction as powerful as any drug. A gambling addiction can interfere with any major area of life such as work, school, family, or finances. The addiction is characterized by preoccupation with gambling, the need to gamble more money more frequently, and irritability when gambling is stopped. Problem gambling has been termed the hidden addiction, because there are few outward signs before serious damage to relationships, job, financial stability and reputation can occur. The 2-3% of the population addicted to gambling is at a much higher risk for substance abuse disorders, depression and suicide.
- First, like any addiction, you must admit to yourself and your family that you have a problem.
- You can join the Gamblers Anonymous™, a self-help group for problem gamblers.
- Contact your healthcare provided. They can work with you during treatment.
Signs that you may have a gambling problem
- Gambling longer than planned
- Gambling until your last dollar is gone
- Making repeated attempts to stop
- Lying to conceal your gambling
- Using savings to gamble, leaving bills unpaid
- Breaking the law to finance gambling
- Harming relationships because of gambling
- Feeling depressed from gambling losses
- Returning the day after losing to “get even”