For many the use of lottery cards, slot machines, horse racing, casinos etc. is a recreational activity. However, for some it develops into a compulsion, which results in the loss of entire livelihoods and families. As loss of control over gambling develops, with increased pre-occupation and compulsion, denial plays a very important role in the mind of the gambling addict. As the denial increases, so do the financial risks taken. As the gambler moves through an addictive cycle he/she will experience increased anxiety culminating in severe stress, only relieved by the euphoria of a win.
As with drug addiction, gambling addiction escalates over time, resulting in the gambler borrowing and even stealing money to feed the compulsion. Similar to drug addiction the gambler is likely to become increasingly agitated and pre-occupied. Anxiety and depression often increases and eventual suicide is not uncommon.
Complusive gambling has been grouped along with other addictions in the new DSM-5. Certain criteria have been identified which may lead to a diagnosis of a gambling disorder.
If you over the last 12 month period you can answer YES to four or more of the following questions you may need professional help.
- Do you need to gamble with increasing amounts of money in order to achieve the desired excitement?
- Do you become restless or irritable when attempting to cut down or stop gambling?
- Have you made repeated unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back, or stop gambling?
- Are you often preoccupied with gambling?
- Do you gamble when feeling distressed?
- After losing money gambling, do you often return another day to get even (“chase” your loss)?
- Do you lie to conceal the extent of your involvement with gambling?
- Has your gambling jeopardized or lost a significant relationship, job, or educational or career opportunity?
- Do you rely on others to provide money to relieve desperate financial situations caused by gambling?
If you or someone you love needs help, please contact us for information and assistance.
Call: +27 21 761 7348