What is Problem Gambling?

Problem gambling is gambling behavior which causes disruptions in any major area of life: psychological, physical, social or vocational. The term “Problem Gambling” includes, but is not limited to, the condition known as “Pathological”, or “Compulsive” Gambling, a progressive addiction characterized by increasing preoccupation with gambling, a need to bet more money more frequently, restlessness or irritability when attempting to stop, “chasing” losses, and loss of control manifested by continuation of the gambling behavior in spite of mounting, serious, negative consequences.

Do you…

  • Think about gambling a great deal of your time?
  • Lie about your gambling to others?
  • Gamble while bills go unpaid?
  • Borrow money to finance your gambling?
  • Miss work because of your gambling?
  • Feel anxious, depressed or suicidal after you gamble, but not quitting?

If you answered yes to any of these, you could have a gambling problem.

Compulsive gambling is often called the “invisible” addiction, because gambling addicts don’t show physical signs like some drug addicts do, like liquor on their breath or needle marks on their arms — but gambling addiction can ruin lives. If you or someone you know is struggling with problem gambling, let Acme Counseling be there to help.

What is compulsive gambling?

Gambling addiction, or compulsive gambling, is gambling behavior that causes disruption in psychological, physical, professional or social aspects. Warning signs of gambling addiction include:

  • A steadily increasing preoccupation with gambling
  • A need to bet more money, more frequently
  • Restlessness or irritability when attempting to stop gambling
  • “Chasing” losses with more gambling
  • Continued gambling despite mounting serious, negative consequences

Gambling addiction affects millions of Americans.

Roughly two million Americans meet the criteria for gambling addiction, according to the National Council on Problem Gambling. Another four-to-six million are problem gamblers, which is a serious affliction that, if left untreated, often leads to a full-blown addiction.

Gambling addiction can occur regardless of your choice of game, be it poker, slot machines or the state lottery. And this isn’t just a financial problem – it’s a progressive illness. Paying off a compulsive gambler’s debts won’t cure the addiction; inevitably, the gambling addict will continue to place bets and accrue more debts that he or she can’t afford to pay.

Gambling addiction can be life-threatening.

Though compulsive gambling can be considered less “serious” than alcohol or drug abuse, gambling addicts commit suicide at far higher rates than those with drug or alcohol addictions. A gambling addict who puts off treatment is playing Russian roulette with his or her life. Call us today if you think you may need to find treatment for compulsive gambling 541-286-4010.

In addition to the high risk of suicide, there are other consequences to untreated gambling addiction, such as:

  • Financial difficulties, including bankruptcy. Gambling addicts are typically tens of thousands in debt, or more, by the time they seek help.
  • Problems at home or work. Gambling addicts sometimes will continue playing through the night and can show up bleary-eyed to work in the morning. Bosses notice this behavior. At home, the stress and anxiety caused by their addiction leads some gambling addicts to mistreat their spouse or children.
  • Criminal records. Many gambling addicts who wouldn’t otherwise break the law can turn to crimes such as embezzlement, fraud or theft in order to finance their habit. This includes stealing from the workplace or their loved ones.