What is problem gambling?
From the National Council on Problem Gambling:
Problem gambling includes all gambling behavior patterns that compromise, disrupt or damage personal, family or vocational pursuits. The essential features are increasing preoccupation with gambling, a need to bet more money more frequently, restlessness or irritability when attempting to stop, “chasing” losses, and loss of control manifested the continuation of gambling behavior in spite of mounting, serious, negative consequences. In extreme cases, problem gambling can result in financial ruin, legal problems, loss of career and family, or even suicide.
Are problem gamblers usually addicted to other things too?
People with one addiction are more at risk to develop another. Some problem gamblers also find they have a problem with alcohol or drugs. This does not, however, mean that if you have a gambling problem you are guaranteed to become addicted to other things. Some problem gamblers never experience any other addiction because no other substance or activity gives them the same feeling as gambling does. There also appears to be evidence of family patterns regarding dependency as many problem gamblers report one or both parents had a drinking and or gambling problem.
If you need to win, you need to stop. Take the steps necessary for recovery.
What are the signs and symptoms of
If you have one or more of the following signs, you may be suffering from a gambling addiction:
- Feel the need to be secretive about your gambling
- Trouble controlling your gambling
- Spending more time gambling than intended
- Increase in size of bets (sudden and dramatic)
- Creating special occasions for gambling (canceling other plans)
- Gamble even when you don't have money
- Intensity of interest in gambling (constant tension and excitement)
- Boasting about winning; evasive about losing
- Family and friends are worried about you
- Drop off in other activities
- Withdrawal from family
- Exaggerated display of money and other possessions
- Personality changes (increased irritability/hostility)
- Diversion of family funds
- Borrowing money
- Criminal Activity
How widespread is problem gambling in the U.S.?
2 million or 1% of U.S. adults are estimated to meet criteria for pathological gambling in a given year. Another 4-6 million (2-3%) would be considered problem gamblers; that is, they do not meet the full diagnostic criteria for pathological gambling, but meet one or more of the criteria and are experiencing problems due to their gambling behavior. Research also indicates that most adults who choose to gamble are able to do responsibly.