Problem gambling (also known as compulsive gambling or gambling addiction) is characterized by the uncontrollable impulse to gamble despite the harm they may be causing to themselves or the people they love. If gambling is causing problems in your loved one’s life, it is almost certain that they have a problem with gambling. Behaviors you might see in your loved ones if they have a gambling problem include:
- They are secretive about their activities
- They are unable to ‘walk away’ despite serious consequences
- They may have financial problems as a result of their gambling
- They continue to spend more and more time doing gambling activities
- They gamble to relieve stress and deal with feelings.
Gambling Addiction Questionnaire
The below questionnaire can help you or your loved one determine if their gambling is problematic. While it is not an exhaustive list and your loved one might not exhibit all of the behaviors listed in the questionnaire, exhibiting even a few can be the first signs of a problem and that it is time to get them some help.
Answer the following questions with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer.
- Have you ever missed work, school or other important events because of gambling?
- Have you ever said you won at gambling when you actually lost?
- If you lost money, did you go back on a different day to try to win the money back?
- Has anyone criticized or tried to confront you about your gambling habits?
- Have you ever felt guilt over what happens when you gamble?
- Have you ever tried to cut back or stop gambling but were unsuccessful?
- When you tried to stop gambling, did you feel restless, frustrated and irritable?
- Have you ever hidden lottery tickets, gambling money, or other signs of your gambling habit from the people in your life?
- Have you ever spent more than you planned on gambling?
- Have you ever tried to hide the fact that you lost money?
- What is the most money (that you are aware of) that you spent gambling in one day?
- Have you ever borrowed money to gamble or pay gambling debts?
- Have you ever been confronted or have you ever fought with people you live with about your financial situation?
If you answered ‘Yes’ to 1 or more of the above questions you may be experiencing a problem with gambling.