Since 1990, the World Health Organization identified pathological gambling as a psychological disorder. As with alcohol and drugs, gambling was classified in the addiction disorders section. Here are some behavioural signs that can help you recognize a loved one with a gambling problem. Perhaps even you have started exhibiting behaviours described below.
- Lying: If you have a gambling problem, you have maybe begun concealing the extent of it to your loved ones. Are you lying to your partner, your family, your colleagues and your friends?
- « Chasing losses »: Do you go back to try to recoup your losses? To win back money you have lost. Do you think that you can win big which would then allow you to stop? Do you believe that you lost because you changed strategies and were «unlucky»? It is precisely by continuing to try to recoup your losses that you are losing and accumulating debt.
- Borrowing money: To help with his or her financial problems due to gambling, an excessive gambler will frequently borrow money from friends, family, colleagues or even strangers without necessarily giving the real reason for needing the money. A gambler can also have his or her debt paid off by others. They can even max out their credit cards or take out a second mortgage on their house. Do you ever borrow money?
- Betting more: As with someone addicted to alcohol or drugs who needs to increase their dose, do you gamble with increasing amounts of money in order to achieve the desired excitement? Unfortunately, the more you bet, the more you lose.
- Being preoccupied with gambling: Do you have persistent thoughts of your past gambling experiences and your next ventures? Do you gamble as soon as the thought enters your mind? Do you look for ways of getting money to continue gambling?
- Being unable to stop: Are you aware of all the negative consequences caused by your gambling habits? Do you want to stop? Have you made repeated unsuccessful attempts at stopping but could not resist the urges?
- The need to gamble: When you attempt to cut back or stop your excessive gambling, you may have psychological withdrawal symptoms, kind of like someone who has stopped drinking or using drugs. Are you irritable, impatient, restless or tense when you have not had your gambling «fix»?
- Gambling to forget: Do you gamble to get your mind off things, to forget your problems or to relieve stress? Gambling is no longer a form of entertainment. It is the activity you choose to feel better and to escape your worries. It is at this point that gambling becomes a source of problems for you.
- Gambling is more important than anything: Have you become so addicted to gambling and so obsessed by the hope of recouping your losses that your financial, family, social and professional problems are going from bad to worse? Does your life revolve around gambling? It is possible then that your whole life starts being affected. Gambling is probably jeopardizing your relationships with your family, your loved ones, your work and your opportunities to study or have a career.