Most people who gamble do so with no harmful effects. They set limits and stick to them. However, for a small percentage of the population, gambling can become more than a game, and lead to serious consequences for both the gambler and their family.
Here are some of the warning signs:
For the Person Gambling:
- Gambling to escape worry or trouble
- Gambling to get money to solve financial difficulties
- Unable to stop playing regardless of winning or losing
- Gambling until the last dollar is gone
- Losing time from work due to gambling
- Borrowing money to pay gambling debts
- Neglecting family because of gambling
- Lying about time and money spent gambling
For the Family:
- Unexplained financial problems
- Reduced involvement in social/group activities outside the home
- Emotional distress, anger, depression
- Lack of communication among family members
- Items of value lost or missing
- Family members working overtime or taking a second job to make ends meet
- One member (gambler) noticeably absent from or disinterested in normal family activities
If you are concerned about yourself or someone in your family, learn more at Get Help Now or call/text/chat the 24-hour Problem Gambling Helpline.
Take the Self-Test
Are you unsure if your gambling is becoming a problem? Answering the following questions may help you decide:
- Do you ever miss work or school, or fail to take care of other responsibilities because of gambling?
- Has gambling ever made your home life unhappy?
- Is your gambling affecting your reputation?
- Do you ever have feelings of remorse, regret or guilt after gambling?
- Do you ever gamble in hopes of winning money to take care of financial problems?
- Is gambling causing a decrease in your ambition or efficiency?
- After losing, do you want to gamble again as soon as possible to try to win back your money?
- After you win, do you have a strong urge to keep gambling and win more?
- Do you often gamble until you’ve spent your last dollar?
- Do you ever borrow from other people or take advances on credit cards to get money to gamble?
- Have you ever sold anything to get money to gamble or to pay gambling debts?
- Do you ever hold off paying bills so you can have money to gamble?
- Have you ever been careless of the wellbeing of yourself or your family because of your gambling?
- Do you ever gamble longer than you planned?
- Do you gamble as a way to cope with stress or avoid painful feelings?
- Have you ever thought about, or done something illegal to get money for gambling or to solve a financial problem caused by gambling?
- Does the stress of gambling cause you to have difficulty sleeping?
- Do arguments, disappointments, or frustrations cause you to have urges to gamble?
- Do you ever feel the urge to celebrate any good fortune by a few hours of gambling?
- Have you ever considered self-harm or suicide because of your gambling?
If you answered “Yes” to seven or more of these questions, you could be a problem gambler, but help is available! Learn more about treatment and support resources at Get Help Now.