Warning Signs of Problem Gambling

The term “gambling” is used to describe any activity where something of value (like money) is put at risk for a chance of gain. It includes regulated gambling, like lotteries and casinos, as well as non-regulated activities, such as betting on sports events or playing poker in friends’ homes. While gambling can be enjoyable, it is important to know the warning signs of problem gambling and seek help if you are concerned you or a loved one may be at risk.

People who have a gambling problem are unable to control their betting and often experience a loss of self-control. They can become compelled to gamble even when they have lost all of their money, and increase their bets in an attempt to win back the losses. This behaviour can lead to debt and other financial problems. It can also affect a person’s relationships and work life. In some cases, it can even be a symptom of depression or other mental health conditions.

Those who have a gambling disorder are considered to be pathological gamblers, and their behaviour can lead to serious consequences for themselves and others. Approximately 2.5 million U.S. adults (1%) meet the criteria for pathological gambling. Many more have mild or moderate gambling problems. These individuals may or may not be advancing toward a pathological gambling state, and they may still be able to control their gambling.

There are many reasons why people gamble, including socializing with friends, mental development and skill improvement, and escaping unpleasant emotions. However, these activities can be abused if the person is vulnerable or has other underlying mood disorders.

It is estimated that more than a quarter of a billion dollars are lost by Canadians each year due to gambling, and many people with gambling problems are unaware they have a problem. Some may have a family history of gambling addiction, while others are at high risk of developing a gambling problem because of their genetics or environment.

Gambling is a highly addictive activity and it can cause significant harm to an individual’s life, especially their family, work and finances. In addition, it can lead to depression, anxiety and other mental health issues, which can make the problem worse.

There are several ways to get help for a gambling problem, including family therapy and marriage, career and credit counselling. These services can help you deal with the specific issues caused by your gambling and lay the foundation for a healthier, more balanced lifestyle. You can also learn how to manage unpleasant feelings in healthier ways, such as exercising, spending time with friends who don’t gamble and practicing relaxation techniques. To find the right treatment for you, contact a professional therapist or call the Gambling Helpline to discuss your options. The number is 1-800-858-9009. You can also visit our frequently asked questions section for more information about gambling.