First of all – congrats. By even just asking this question, you’ve taken a very big step in being aware that there is a possibility that you have a gambling addiction, so kudos to you on that. Most people try and hide the fact and deny is, so being aware of this is a great step to make.
Unfortunately – you are not going to find the answer you are looking for here. There’s no way we can accurately say “yes” or “no” to this question, however we can try and help you and offer as much advice and information as you can get.
First of all, don’t judge if you are a compulsive gambling addiction based on web polls or surveys like the ones found at Gamblers Anonymous. That’s not a knock on Gamblers Anonymous – they are a fine organization and we will discuss them a little bit later in this article, however their survey is a tad overzealous. If you look at their Gamblers Anonymous 20 questions section for example, some of the questions are a bit ridiculous. “Have you ever felt remorse after gambling?” Man, I’ve felt remorse after upsizing my fries at McDonalds. “After a win do you want to go back and win more?” Who doesn’t? Everyone loves success, and of course we want more.
What the 20 questions are meant to do are make you more aware, and make you think more about whether or not you have a problem. It’s all about interpretation. Don’t take the survey, answer 7 questions “yes” and then say “Oh well I guess I must have a gambling problem”. Just like you shouldn’t answer 4 questions yes and think “Well I can’t be addicted because I only answered 4” – especially if any of those 4 include considering suicide due to gambling! It’s just not as black and white as that.
There is no magic answer to the question – every person is different. There are obviously some tell-tale signs; for example if you HAVE ever considered suicide due to gambling, then yes we’d say you have a problem. If gambling is disrupting your personal or professional life then that is a very big sign that you have a gambling addiction. If you are constantly borrowing money to gamble, or selling things for the pure purpose of gambling, then you also most likely have a gambling problem.
First of all if you want to talk about it, you can e-mail me at email@example.com. I won’t judge, I won’t pressure you, I’ll just be there – an anonymous voice – for you to talk to. I’ve personally counselled many people who are addicted to gambling, and I’m always available to help. Sometimes it can help to just reach out and talk to someone.
Second – be sure to read over the material at the Gamblers Anonymous website. There is some great information there. There is also a very interesting article at HelpGuide.org entitled Gambling Addiction and Problem Gambling which you should read. With both websites be sure to read everything and try and understand everything.
Third and finally – look up a local Gamblers Anonymous meeting. Try and attend or even call and chat to someone, just to hear the stories from other people. It can be hard to attend one of these meetings – but just consider it an interest check, to make sure that you are NOT addicted. Gamblers Anonymous is an excellent support group and will help take away any stress you have over the possibility of gambling addiction.
Additional Gambling Addiction Questions:
I gamble in secret and my wife doesn’t know. Do I have a gambling problem?
I’m not Dr. Phil. I don’t know you, I don’t know your wife, and I don’t know your relationship, so this is not a question I can accurately answer. I do think you should consider the reasons as to why you aren’t telling your wife, and I do believe you should be open and honest with them. If you don’t have a problem, what is there to hide?
The answer to the question How do I know if I have a Gambling Addiction? is also applicable for the following questions: