For most people, gambling is entertainment. It's exciting fun with little or no consequence. But for some, it's not just good fun - it becomes a serious problem with severe consequences.
Unfortunately for these people, gambling turns into an intense addiction. They become obsessed with an uncontrollable urge to gamble. This problem is called Compulsive Gambling Addiction. It is an emotional illness with no obvious physical signs. It often remains hidden until the financial and emotional lives of the gambler and family are shattered. Sadly, the stress only increases the need to gamble; it continues to grow stronger as the negative effects pile up consequences.
Compulsive gambling can affect men and women of any age, race or religion, regardless of their social or economic stature. Up to six percent of U.S. residents have problems with gambling, which is only slightly less than the 9 percent who abuse alcohol. Contrary to public opinion, winning is not the attraction. It is the act of gambling - the thrill of bet-making and risk-taking. Winning (or losing) does not diminish the need; the "high" comes only from gambling.
How Do You Know?
Most gamblers need help in recognizing the signs of compulsive gambling. Often it is the family or friends who see the problem first.
The following questions are provided to help the individual decide if he or she is a compulsive gambler.
- Do you lose time from work because of gambling?
- Is gambling making your home life unhappy?
- Is gambling affecting your reputation?
- Have you ever felt remorse over gambling?
- Do you ever gamble to get money to pay debts or otherwise solve financial difficulties?
- Does gambling cause a decrease in your ambition or efficiency?
- After losing, do you feel you must return as soon as possible to win back your losses?
- After a win, do you have a strong urge to return and win again?
- Do you often gamble until your last dollar is gone?
- Do you ever borrow to finance your gambling?
- Have you ever sold anything to finance your gambling?
- Are you reluctant to use "gambling money" for normal expenditures?
- Does gambling make you careless of the welfare of yourself or your family?
- Do you ever gamble longer than you had planned?
- Do you ever gamble to escape worry or trouble?
- Have you ever committed or considered an illegal act to finance gambling?
- Does gambling cause you to have difficulty sleeping?
- Do arguments, disappointments or frustrations create within you the urge to gamble?
- Do 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?
- Most compulsive gamblers can answer yes to at least seven of these twenty questions.
- If you bet more than you can afford to lose, you've got a problem. Call 1-800-270-7117 for free, confidential help.