So how can you tell if you have a gambling addiction? Here is a few questions from the Council on Compulsive Gambling of PA for you to ask yourself. If you answer yes to at least seven of these questions you may be a compulsive gambler and need to seek help for your gambling addiction.
- Did you ever lose time from work or school due to gambling?
- Has gambling ever made your home life unhappy?
- Did gambling affect your reputation?
- Did you ever gamble to get money with which to pay debts or otherwise solve financial difficulties?
- Did gambling cause a decrease in your ambition or efficiency?
- After losing did you feel you must return as soon as possible and win back your losses?
- After a win did you have a strong urge to return and win more?
- Did you often gamble until your last dollar was gone?
- Did you ever borrow to finance your gambling?
- Have you ever sold anything to finance your gambling?
- Were you reluctant to use “gambling money” for normal expenditures?
- Did gambling make you careless of the welfare of yourself or your family?
- Did you ever gamble longer that you had planned?
- Have you ever gambled to escape worry or trouble?
- Have you ever committed, or considered committing, an illegal act to finance gambling?
- Did gambling cause you to have difficulty in sleeping?
- Do arguments, disappointments or frustrations create within you an urge to gamble?
- Did you ever have an urge to celebrate any good fortune by a few hours of gambling?
- Have you ever considered self-destruction or suicide as a result of your gambling?
If you have answered yes to seven or more of the questions in the self-test or are concerned that you may have a gambling addiction and would like to get help there are many ways to do that. For those that seek help roughly 65% show significant improvement, problem gambling can be overcome, there are counselors available to help you. Here is the Gambling Helpline: 1-877-565-2112, for meetings contact Gambling Anonymous 1-412-281-7484, and there are counselors in the area for a listing go to: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists/addiction/pa/washington?sid=1519329424.9251_23043&spec=254 .
Wait they aren’t old enough to gambling is what you are thinking. You are correct is saying they aren’t old enough but that doesn’t stop gambling with youth. Youth who are around gambling mimic what they see and gambling has been around forever. Think about March, most associate March with March Maddness and the basketball bracket or how about Football Fantasy especially if they are into sports. Even those that aren’t into sports have gambled with video games, games of skill such as pool, bowling, etc. How about younger students that go to places playing games with tokens (now they have cards) to win tickets to trade in for a prize. Of course, what about birthday cards, Christmas and other holidays they are given a lottery ticket to scratch off. Can they claim the prize if they win… NO, they aren’t old enough. But they are scratching it off to see if they won and if they do win an adult will have to claim the prize.
Seniors and Gambling? Yes, Seniors can become addicted to gambling. Think about it… where do most seniors go as a group from senior centers, and the senior housing- they go to the casino or to play bingo. Where they get to see friends, and the casino shows them a good time – free drinks, incentives like food and extra points, etc. There is nothing wrong with gambling responsibly however, sometimes it can become a problem. They start spending money that they have in savings, money meant to buy groceries, pay rent and utilities, money that was for their medication. Yes, this happens! Look for warning signs – do they go alone? Are they spending a lot of time there? Are they skipping medications? Is there savings/money disappearing? Help is available if they need help.
Who is impacted by a gambling addiction? The gambler isn’t the only one impacted by the addiction, everyone around them is impacted also. Children are impacted by their parent’s/caregivers addiction, relationships suffer, and of course the person with the gambling addiction suffers too. There isn’t money to purchase food, pay the rent, spend time with their love ones, miss important events, loss of jobs, housing, assets such as retirement plans, savings, etc. Because the gambling addiction takes over their whole life. They are always looking to replace the money they lost, spending hours trying to re-win the money to even break even for the day, thinking the next big win is going to happen soon and it doesn’t happen.
After attending a recent training, we were made aware of another type of gambling that affects our youth. Video game gambling. Yes, video games. Have you heard of loot boxes or crates in video games? You can earn them but you may not get the cool things like the new skin for your character, needed items to go up in levels, a certain kind of weapon. But, you can purchase a box/crate (unknowing what’s inside the box) to hopefully get some of the items that you want. These gaming manufactures can track on how long a person plays, what they click on and put pop ups to purchase items on the game depending on what you have, need or want. Then to take it a step further, there is a countdown clock on the screen…only so many seconds remaining, get it now before it’s gone. This works on the impulse to get it now, you don’t want to miss out. Many youth, are getting sucked in and some into major debt in taking a chance in getting these items that aren’t even real but a virtual item!
Gambling addiction can happen to anyone.
Anyone can develop gambling problems, especially those who have risk factors including depression, substance use/abuse, family history of addiction and more. Some professions such as Casino workers and some veterans have a higher risk of gambling addiction. Some people in recovery for an addiction begin to gamble and end up substituting that addiction with gambling which turns into an addiction. In the next several days will be talk about populations that is becoming more impacted by gambling addiction.
I can beat that! Many problem gamblers believe that they have figures out a way to beat the games they play such as cards and they can outsmart the dealer to beat the odds. Even those that bet on the horses study the horse’s ancestry background, the win’s and losses, to try and pick the best horse. Those that beat on games such as basketball, football they study the players and their recent performances. Does any of that make a difference? NO, because it’s a game of chance, many factors come into play with their performance that day, weather, their health, their mood to name a few.