How Do I Know if Gambling is a Problem?
How Do You Know if Gambling is a Problem?
Compulsive gambling does not follow normal “risk and reward” behavioral patterns. Problem gambling is not just about how frequently someone gambles or how much they lose when they gamble. Problem gamblers frequently:
Associate gambling with a high, similar to what is experienced with drugs, and report subjective excitement, dissociation and an increased heart rate when gambling.
- Continue to gamble after losing in order to recoup their losses, even if rationally they know gambling is causing them financial difficulties.
- Are pre-occupied with gambling, reliving previous gambling experiences and planning for the next gambling outing.
- Need to gamble with increasing amounts of money in order to enjoy the experience.
- Lie to others about the extent of their gambling and their losses.
Gamblers Anonymous uses the following 20 questions to help gamblers determine if they have a problem.
- Did you ever lose time from work or school due to gambling?
- Has gambling ever made your home life unhappy?
- Did gambling affect your reputation?
- Have you ever felt remorse after gambling?
- Did you ever gambler to get money with which to pay debts or otherwise solve financial difficulties?
- Did gambling cause a decrease in your ambition or efficiency?
- After losing did you feel you must return as soon as possible and win back your losses?
- After a win did you have a strong urge to return and win more?
- Did you often gamble until your last dollar was gone?
- Have you ever sold something to finance your gambling?
- Were you reluctant to use “gambling money” for normal expenditures?
- Did gambling make you careless of the welfare of yourself and your family?
- Did you ever gamble longer than you had planned?
- Have you ever gambled to escape worry or trouble?
- Have you ever committed or considered committing an illegal act to finance gambling?
- Did gambling cause you to have difficulty sleeping?
- Do arguments, disappointments or frustrations create within you an urge to gamble?
- Did you ever have an urge to celebrate good fortune by a few hours of gambling?
- Have you ever considered self-destruction as a result of your gambling?
A “yes” answer to at least seven of the above questions may indicate a compulsive gambler.
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