Problem Gambling - Signs and How to Get Help

Problem gambling is not a fun topic to cover, but it’s important that we don’t gloss over the issue. Fewer than 2% of people suffer from problem gambling, but that extrapolates to way too many sufferers. Rather than ignore the issue, we would rather deal with it head-on and hopefully prevent any further heartache for those with gambling problems.

Problem gambling is defined as a behavior or gambling urge that causes problems in other areas of one’s life. Any time gambling disrupts one’s personal relationships, work habits or personal finances, that can be considered “problem gambling.” Problem gambling affects millions of people around the world, but the issue can be treated once properly addressed.

There are countless other definitions of problem gambling, but the general idea is that if it’s causing problems, it’s not a good thing. Fortunately, there are several resources for people who suspect they or someone they know are suffering from problem gambling.

Signs of Problem Gambling

Problem gambling isn’t always easily recognized – especially by those who suffer from it. Self-image also makes it difficult for some people to admit to a gambling problem. The following signs often indicate problem gambling but this is not a comprehensive list of symptoms.

  • Gambling more money than planned
  • Gambling for longer than planned
  • Borrowing money for the purpose of gambling
  • ambling with money that is specifically set aside for other purposes
  • Breaking the law to finance gambling activities
  • Attempting and failing to stop gambling
  • Losing sleep over gambling
  • Feeling suicidal or depressed over gambling
  • Gambling to earn money for rent / bills

What to Do

If you suspect you or someone you know are falling prey to problem gambling, the most important thing you can do is recognize that there is a gambling problem. This is not an easy step to take, but it helps immensely. Once you know the cause of your anxiety, you can then take steps to alleviate the problem.

If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, the best thing you can do is get help. There are two organizations in particular that help people with gambling problems:

National Council on Problem Gambling

The NCPG has a database of counselors that can help you find support for yourself or those you know with gambling problems. You can find out more by visiting their website or calling their 24 hour problem gambling hotline.

Gamblers Anonymous

Gamblers Anonymous is modeled after Alcoholics Anonymous. The organization has chapters all around the world and it focuses on helping people through group therapy. This group is highly recommended for people with gambling problems.

Other Resources

No matter where you live in the world, there are places where you can go to get advice about problem gambling. The following links will help you find problem gambling resources around the world:

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