While most people gamble without it causing them any problems in their lives, a few of those who gamble find it changes their lives for the worse. How can you tell if this is happening to you or someone close to you?
Below are some of the signs of problem gambling and some of the risk factors in developing a problem with gambling.
For many people, gambling is something they do once in a while, as a form of recreation. They buy a lottery ticket, bet a few dollars on a horse, or drop a loonie into a machine. When the draw or the game is over, they go on to other non-gambling activities.
But for some people, gambling becomes more and more important and becomes a problem. Gambling problems can range from minor to quite serious.
It could be as simple as gambling a little more often than you meant to, or spending a little more money than you meant to, or maybe making it hard to pay the utility bills or meet a car payment some months.
The gambling may cause problems in the gambler’s life once it a while—for example, making it harder to pay the utility bill or rent some months. Or it may get worse, affecting the gambler and his or her family in negative ways—causing a lot of debt, marriage problems, even illegal activity.
Here are some signs that a person may have a gambling problem:
Anyone who gambles can develop a gambling problem. For some is the risk is very low, while for others the risk is high.
There are many factors that affect your risk of developing a gambling problem. These include:
How many of these sound familiar? Your chances of developing a gambling problem depend on the number of factors in your life and the ways these factors work together.
Keep a balance in your life. Make careful decisions about how you spend your time, money, and energy.
Here are some ideas that may help:
These questions may help you explore your gambling experience. If you find that checked a lot of the boxes in #1 or you answered "Yes" to questions 2 through 5, you may have a gambling problem. Think about learning more about gambling or have your gambling assessed by calling the 24-hour Helpline.
Current as of: January 3, 2017
Author: Addiction and Mental Health, Alberta Health Services
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