Are you asking yourself, “Do I have a gambling problem?”? This is a big question to answer and, of course, we can’t fully address it for you.
However, we can give you an indication of the most common warning signs to look out for if you think you have or might be developing a gambling problem.
If you don’t recognise yourself in any of these signals, but there’s still something that unsettles you about your gambling, you should still get help. Because at the end of the day, the only person who can answer the question, “Do I have a gambling problem” is you.
And the truth is, it can happen to anyone. Maybe you’ve been gambling for decades or even if you’re underage. No one is immune from developing a gambling problem.
Are you having problems with your personal life?
You might find yourself fighting with your significant other, family members and close friends. Sometimes it could be about gambling, but other times it might not seem directly related. Perhaps they want to spend more time with you, but you are passing up invitations because you’d rather gamble instead.
Is your work and/or studies suffering?
People suffering from gambling problems often have problems focusing on other things. This is always a bad sign, but when it affects your career or your studies, it can put your livelihood and future earning potential in serious danger.
Are you grappling with uncomfortable feelings?
Do you feel increased levels of guilt over your gambling? Perhaps you are increasingly anxious or depressed. Or maybe you feel restless until you can gamble again. If you feel like this and you ask yourself, “Do I have a gambling problem?”, the answer is yes. You need to get help from a mental health specialist, as well as a gambling addiction organisation.
Do you have increased financial pressures due to gambling?
Some people with gambling problems do it frequently with small amounts. Meanwhile others gamble infrequently but with large amounts. There is often an urge to spend more and spend more often. However you gamble, if it is more than you can afford, it is too much.
If you’re finding it hard to make ends meet and pay bills but you’re still gambling, this is a problem. Likewise if you’re simply spending more than you’re comfortable with.
Don’t throw good money after bad when you’ve suffered a loss. Never take out a loan (from a bank or friend) in order to gamble. And, of course, never ever steal to cover a bet.
Anyone who gambles, regardless of whether or not they think they have a problem, should understand the mechanics of online gambling and work out a sensible gambling budget.
I think I do have a gambling problem
If you’ve reached the conclusion that you do have a gambling problem, this is a positive first step. The next one is to get help.
You can self-exclude from any online gambling sites you are signed up to. Then get help from a local organisation designed to support you in this time of need. Be Gamble Aware is available to people based in the United Kingdom. They have online resources and a phone line at 0808 8020 133, where you can talk to someone one-on-one.
There are plenty of other options around the world too. Take a look at this list to find a gambling help organisation near you.