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How to Recognize Signs of a Gambling Addiction

Identifying these warning signals early on can help prevent future harm and provide support to people battling with addiction. Signs and symptoms of gambling addiction include:

  • Gambling obsession:
    A strong and consistent gambling obsession is a red flag. A gambling addiction may be indicated if someone appears to be continually thinking about gambling, planning their next bet, or obsessively discussing past gambling experiences.
  • More time and money spent on betting:
    A major shift in spending patterns, as well as an increase in the amount of time and money spent on gambling, may indicate the development of an addiction. Borrowing money, selling possessions, or allocating an excessive share of income to gambling are other indicators.
  • Struggling with quitting or cutting back:
    A person with a gambling addiction may repeatedly try to cut back or quit gambling but find it difficult to do so.
  • Neglecting personal and professional responsibilities:
    As the addiction takes hold, individuals may begin to neglect personal and professional responsibilities. This can include skipping work or school, neglecting familial duties, or failing to fulfill financial obligations.
  • Mood swings and irritability:
    Another warning sign of addiction is when an individual becomes easily agitated or defensive when confronted about their gambling habits.
  • Chasing losses:
    Instead of accepting defeat and walking away, an individual struggling with addiction will engage in higher-risk bets or continue to gamble with the hope of recouping their losses.

What to Do If You Recognize These Signs

If you notice any of these symptoms in yourself or someone else, it is critical that you act and get treatment. Consider the following steps:

  1. Set boundaries:
    If you are personally dealing with a gambling addiction, consider setting boundaries for yourself. Limit access to cash, credit cards, or online gambling platforms. If you feel the problem is deep, consider taking time-off, or even self-exclusion.
  2. Communication:
    Proactively communicate your difficulties with a friend or close family member. Many gamblers get deeper into addiction because they do not seek help when they recognize a problem. If someone comes to you with a gambling addiction problem, or if you observe any of the indications we’ve mentioned, it’s ideal to encourage open conversation without criticizing or rebuking them.
  3. Professional help:
    There are many charity organisations dedicated to helping gamblers deal with the addiction menace. Some of these organisations, like Gamblers Anonymous, bring together many addicts to foster mutual support. Victims also get free resources to help them recover smoothly.

Self-Assessment Tool

Do you wonder if you have a gambling problem? We designed a simple quiz-based self-assessment tool to assist you in evaluating yourself. Read each sentence carefully and choose the response that best describes your own behavior.

During this evaluation, be completely honest with yourself. Remember that this questionnaire is not intended to replace professional guidance, but it can provide some insight into your gaming tendencies. You will receive a score at the end of the quiz indicating your possible level of risk.

Start:

I often think about gambling, even when I should be focused on other tasks.
Strongly Disagree / Disagree / Neutral / Agree / Strongly Agree

I have unsuccessfully tried to control or stop my gambling habit.
Strongly Disagree / Disagree / Neutral / Agree / Strongly Agree

I find myself gambling with more money than I initially intended.
Strongly Disagree / Disagree / Neutral / Agree / Strongly Agree

Gambling has caused problems (such as arguments, debts, or stress) in my personal or professional life.
Strongly Disagree / Disagree / Neutral / Agree / Strongly Agree

I often feel guilty or remorseful after gambling.
Strongly Disagree / Disagree / Neutral / Agree / Strongly Agree

I have borrowed money or sold possessions to finance my gambling habits.
Strongly Disagree / Disagree / Neutral / Agree / Strongly Agree

I have endangered or lost a significant relationship due to gambling.
Strongly Disagree / Disagree / Neutral / Agree / Strongly Agree

I need to gamble with increasing amounts of money to achieve the desired excitement.
Strongly Disagree / Disagree / Neutral / Agree / Strongly Agree

I have tried to hide the extent of my gambling from family or friends.
Strongly Disagree / Disagree / Neutral / Agree / Strongly Agree

I have experienced restlessness or irritability when attempting to cut back on gambling.
Strongly Disagree / Disagree / Neutral / Agree / Strongly Agree

Scoring Method:

  • Strongly Disagree: 0 points
  • Disagree: 1 point
  • Neutral: 2 points
  • Agree: 3 points
  • Strongly Agree: 4 points

Results:

Add up your points from each response:

  • 0-6 points: It is less likely that you have a gambling issue.
  • 7-15 points: You may be in the early stages of developing a gambling problem. Be cautious of your gambling behavior.
  • 16-24 points: Your assessment suggests that you may have a moderate gambling issue. Consider seeking professional help or support.
  • 25-40 points: Your scores indicate a high likelihood of a gambling problem. It is strongly recommended that you reach out for professional assistance to address this issue.
    Please keep in mind that this self-assessment tool is not conclusive. Consider getting further examination and support from a healthcare professional or a gambling helpline.

How to Seek Assistance for Harms Caused by Gambling

Seeking help for gambling-related harm is critical for people who are suffering negative outcomes as a result of their gaming habits. This section will go over ways anyone can get help.

National Problem Gambling Helpline

Most countries offer national helplines to assist gamblers seeking assistance. They are accessible by conducting an online search. Individuals suffering from gambling problems can call these helplines for confidential support and assistance. They can offer advice, connect you to local support resources, and provide information on treatment alternatives.

  • GamCare can be reached for free in the United Kingdom at 0808 8020 133
  • If you are in the United States, dial 1-800-522-4700
  • In Australia, you can get gambling help by dialing 1800 858 858
  • For residents of Canada, dial 1 800 463-2338

Counseling and Therapy

Seeking out the assistance of a professional counselor or therapist who specializes in gambling addiction can be extremely beneficial.

They give a secure environment for you to share your experiences, as well as assistance and support, as well as therapeutic strategies tailored to gambling addiction. Many therapists provide online or remote sessions, allowing people to get help from the comfort of their own homes.

Online Resources

Individuals seeking therapy for gambling-related harms have access to a plethora of online resources and self-help options.

Websites such as the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) offer instructional materials, self-assessment quizzes, and treatment information.

Joining a support group, such as Gamblers Anonymous (GA), can be a powerful opportunity to connect with people who have faced similar struggles and provide mutual support.

Taking the initial step toward seeking help might be difficult, but it is a necessary and courageous decision. By seeking assistance, you are prioritizing your well-being and regaining control of your life. Remember that you are not alone and that there are people and services available to help you on your road to recovery.

If you or someone you know is suffering from gambling-related harm, don’t be afraid to get help. You are entitled to a better and happier future, free of the negative effects of gambling.

What is the Best Way to Help a Gambling Addict?

The first step in assisting a gambling addict is to educate ourselves about the nature of addiction and its effects. Understanding that gambling addiction is a genuine mental health issue is crucial for approaching the situation with empathy. This can help us avoid stigmatizing the individual or dismissing their struggle as mere irresponsibility.

Once armed with knowledge and compassion, we can help by providing a supportive environment. Communicating openly with the individual and letting them know that they are not alone in their battle is essential. Resisting the temptation to lecture or shame them will foster a nurturing atmosphere where they feel comfortable seeking help.

Financial management assistance, like creating a budget or enlisting the help of a financial advisor, can help the individual regain control over their finances and minimize the negative consequences of their addiction.

In our efforts to assist someone suffering from a gambling addiction, we must keep in mind that rehabilitation is a journey and relapse is possible. Offering continued support throughout setbacks and applauding their accomplishments, no matter how minor, might encourage people to continue their quest for a healthy lifestyle.

Who to Speak to for Gambling Addiction

First, consider speaking with addiction and compulsive gambling counselors or therapists.

They provide professional advice, therapy, and support that is specifically targeted to address gambling addiction. These professionals can assist people in understanding the underlying causes of their addiction, developing coping techniques, and working toward an effective recovery.
You can contact your primary care physician, local mental health centers, or use online directories that specialize in addiction treatment to find an appropriate counselor or therapist.

Joining support groups such as Gamblers Anonymous (GA) is not a bad idea. They provide a secure and nonjudgmental place for people to discuss their experiences, receive support, and connect with others who are going through similar things.

Seeking financial advice from a financial advisor might be advantageous for people having financial difficulties as a result of their gambling addiction. These professionals can assist individuals in debt management, budget development, and the development of successful financial planning techniques.
Individuals can reclaim control of their finances and rebuild their financial stability by working with a financial advisor, alleviating some of the additional stress associated with gambling addiction.

Get Help for Gambling Addiction: Supportive Organizations

National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG)

The NCPG supports gamblers, families, and communities. As the national gambling harm advocate, the group promotes policy changes and problem gambling awareness. The National Problem Gambling Helpline (1-800-522-4700) provides 24/7 call, text, and chat services for gambling-affected individuals, families, and loved ones.

Gamblers Anonymous (GA)

Gamblers Anonymous is a vital support network for people dealing with the issues of gambling addiction. Individuals find peace within the walls of this community by discussing their personal journeys, achievements, and setbacks. Gamblers Anonymous expands its reach through literature and resources, providing insights into gambling addiction, recovery strategies, and the program’s core values. You can reach GA via their website and helpline at 0330 094 0322.

GamCare

GamCare is Britain’s premier support organization for gambling addiction. Established in 1997, it provides 24/7 assistance to gambling victims. GamCare promotes safer gambling in the industry through structured assistance, treatment, and awareness. Dial 0808 8020 133 to seek help from the organisation.

Eugene Abungana photo

I have worked with several companies in the past including Economy Watch, and Milkroad. Writing for BitEdge is highly satisfying as I get an opportunity to share my knowledge with a broad community of gamblers.

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