Problem gambling is any gambling, betting or wagering that causes family, financial, legal, emotional or other problems for the gambler, their family or others. Gambling problems can be mild or quite severe and can worsen over time.
Also known as compulsive gambling or pathological gambling and first recognized by the American Psychiatric Association as an impulse control disorder in 1980 as a result of the pioneering work of Robert Custer M.D. Pathological Gambling is classified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, fourth edition, published by the American Psychiatric Association.
- Gambling more frequently or for longer than intended
- Lying about where money goes
- Declining work or school performance
- Borrowing money in order to gamble
- Increasing preoccupation with gambling
- Distancing or isolating from family or friends
- Unable to pay bills or cover expenses
- Chasing losses, or returning the next day to win back what was lost
- Have you committed or considered committing a crime to finance your gambling
- Have you made repeated unsuccessful efforts to control or stop your gambling
Effects of Problem Gambling
- Problem gamblers may resort to crimes to pay gambling debts, or to keep gambling. Often non-violent, or “white collar” crimes such as bad checks, forgery, credit card fraud, theft, embezzlement or tax related crimes.
- Major depression is one of the most common co-occurring disorders among problem gamblers presenting for care at over 75%.
- Problem gamblers who present for care have the highest suicide attempt rate among the addictions. Two of every ten gamblers or 20% have made a suicide attempt.
- Children of problem gamblers may be victims of abuse and neglect as a result of their parents gambling.
- Studies also indicate adolescents whose parents gamble too much have higher rates of gambling and other high risk behaviors.
- Research also indicates higher rates of abuse among the spouses of problem gamblers.
Source: National Council on Problem Gambling