What is gambling disorder and how to spot it

By Better Collective

The below info is extracted from CAMH (The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health) Canada’s largest mental health teaching hospital and research center. CAMH is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto and is a Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization Collaborating Centre.

Not all people who gamble excessively are alike, nor are the problems they face. People with a gambling disorder are found in all age groups, income groups, cultures and professions. Some people develop gambling disorders suddenly, others over many years. There are many reasons why a gambling disorder may develop. For example, some people develop problems when they try to win back money they have lost, or because they like to be “in the action.” Gambling related harm is not just about losing money. Gambling disorders can affect a person’s whole life. 

Gambling is a problem when it:

  • Gets in the way of work, school or other activities
  • Harms your mental or physical health
  • Hurts you financially
  • Damages your reputation
  • Causes problems with your family or friends

How to spot if you, yourself, might have a gambling disorder

If you answer yes to three or more of these questions please take it seriously and reach out for help*.

  1. Do you spend too much money and/or time gambling? (Do you spend more money or time on gambling than you plan to)**
  2. Have you gambled away money needed to pay household bills?
  3. Have you risked or lost a relationship because of your gambling?
  4. Do you struggle to sleep because of your problems with gambling?
  5. Do you gamble to try to win back losses?
  6. Do you lie about how much you gamble?

*From promocodejunkie.com-side we would always recommend you to reach out for help, if you can answer yes to either one of the above questions. 

**Rephrased by promocodejunkie.com

How to spot if someone near you might have a gambling disorder

Gambling related harms share many similarities with other addictive disorders. However, there are no visible signs or physical changes that will indicate a gambling problem. Here are common behavioural, emotional, health and financial signs of a gambling disorder.

Behavioural signs:

  • Think/talks about gambling all the time
  • Is less willing to spend money on things other than gambling
  • Cheats or steals to get the money to gamble or pay debts
  • Has legal problems related to gambling
  • Is often late for work
  • Organizes staff pools
  • Is gone for long, unexplained periods of time
  • Neglects personal responsibilities.
  • Stops doing things he or she previously enjoyed
  • Misses events
  • Changes daily patterns 
  • Ignores self-care, work, school or family tasks
  • Has conflicts over money with other people
  • Uses alcohol or other drugs more often
  • Leaves children alone, seems less concerned about who looks after them, neglects their basic care

Emotional signs:

  • Withdraws from family, colleagues and friends
  • Seems far away, anxious or has difficulty paying attention
  • Has mood swings and sudden outbursts of anger
  • Complains of boredom or restlessness
  • Seems depressed or suicidal.

Financial signs:

  • Frequently borrows money or asks for salary advances
  • Takes a second job without a change in finances
  • Cashes in savings accounts, pension or insurance plans
  • Alternates between being broke and flashing money
  • Family members complain that valuables and appliances are disappearing, or money is missing from a bank account or wallet.

Source: www.camh.ca

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