Problem Gambling Warning Signs
Does this sound like you or someone you know?
The spectrum of problem gambling is broad in its severity, ranging from adults who have a problem to those with compulsive to even pathological gambling habits. “Problem gambling” refers to any participation in gambling to the extent that there are negative consequences to the gambler or to his or her family. The term “compulsive gambling” and “pathological gambling” are defined as impulse disorders where a person has an uncontrollable urge to gamble. The American Psychiatric Association considers pathological gambling a mental disorder and has created diagnostic criteria to apply to a gambler’s symptoms. In each case, there are warning signs you should be aware of:
- Preoccupied with playing and unable to stop
- Bragging about playing, exaggerating wins and minimizing losses
- Restless and irritable when not playing
- Playing to “feel better”
- Borrowing money to play
- Lying to hide time spent playing or unpaid debts
- Frequent unexplained absences
- Chasing losses (playing to win back losses)
- Losing work time because of playing
- Doing something illegal to get money to play
- Jeopardizing a significant relationship or job by playing
If you are experiencing any of these feelings, help is available. Call the S.C. Gambling Helpline toll-free at 1-877-452-5155. The call is toll-free and confidential. Help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.