Anxiety and Depression Many people who gamble excessively feel stressed, anxious and depressed. This can make sleeping, thinking and solving problems more difficult. If you have some of the following symptoms for more than two weeks, making your day-to-day life difficult, you may have chronic depression:
You have lost interest in usual activities
You feel depressed, down in the dumps or irritable
Your sleep has changed (e.g., you have problems falling asleep or staying asleep, or you sleep too much)
Your appetite has changed
You have lost or gained weight
You feel helpless, hopeless or despairing
It is hard to think and to remember things, and your thoughts seem slower
You go over and over guilty feelings
You cant stop thinking about problems
You have lost interest in sex
You feel physically tired, slow and heavy; or you feel restless and jumpy
You feel angry
You think about suicide
If you have any of these difficulties, speak to your family doctor or other health care professional (a gambling counsellor can also make sure you get the help you need). Tell him or her about your gambling problems too. Treatment may include medications and/or counselling and other support.
Suicide Risk Rates of suicide are higher for people who gamble excessively, and for their family members. The people most likely to attempt suicide are those who also have mental health problems (like depression) or who heavily use alcohol or other drugs. People who have threatened suicide or hurt themselves in the past are also more at risk. If you feel suicidal or are making plans to end your life, get help right away. You don't have to deal with your problems alone. For more advice, see the box on this page. What to do if you feel suicidal If you are thinking about ending your life:
Go to your local emergency department immediately, or if needed, dial 911.
Remove any means for ending your life (e.g., firearms, medications)
Let your family or a friend know how you are feeling
Call your local distress centre for support and information
Let your doctor know what is going on, including your gambling
Do not drink alcohol or take other drugs—it will make matters worse
Contact the Ontario Problem Gambling Helpline (1 888 230-3505) and arrange to see a counsellor as soon as possible. You can usually be seen within days
Talk to someone you trust, such as a friend or spiritual advisor
If You Can’t Stop Gambling, Your Life Will Be Forever ChangedThe effects of a gambling addiction are often quite clear. A large number of people who engage in compulsive gambling will use credit cards and debit cards to pay casinos or internet gambling organizations. If you engage in problem gambling, you will most likely incur debt, damage your relationships, and lose sight of your goals in life. There are many ways that an untreated gambling addiction can change your life.
Family problems are very common. Almost all compulsive gamblers around the world have issues at home with their family because of their addiction.
Financial devastation is unavoidable. People with a gambling addiction will go to extreme measures to get money to gamble. Many people eventually resort to stealing, taking out large loans, or other desperate means that are out-of-character.
Job loss is very high among gambling addicts. Gambling addiction may lead you to miss work, or come to work distracted. Gambling addictions will interfere with work relations, promotions, and employment.
DON'T KEEP IT TO YOURSELF
Gambling is so "in your face" and everyone loves a winner. No-one wants to admit to losing - habitually - and not being able to stop. So it is important that you do not face this problem alone. Secrecy has backed you into this corner, and fellowship will lead you out of it.
The best source of help is usually your own family and friends. They already know you better than anyone. You may be worried about telling them, but family and friends are often relieved that such problems are out in the open. How might you tell someone? Here's the 5 top tips from Dan:
Pick a good time - pick a deliberate time away from other distractions, which will allow the other person time to get used to what you're telling them and ask plenty of questions
Do it face-to-face - don't hide behind text messages or do it on the phone, at the least do it on a video call if the person is far away. They need to see your facial expressions.
Practice - know exactly what you want to say and how you want to say it. Try saying it in front of a mirror or recording yourself on your phone.
Don't bottle out - delaying it will make it worse
Start with a good phrase - "You may have noticed that..."
You may now be thinking "well that's all very well, but I have screwed up a number of times; this is not the first time. I'm really scared of telling them again". We can't say enough that the power of the addiction is in its secrecy. Being open and honest about it is probably the most important thing you can do.
Build A Better Future
HELP YOURSELF If you are feeling really bad right now, and need to speak to someone immediately, try do a LIVE CHAT with us. Simply click on the lady icon at the bottom right of the screen.
REGISTER FOR OUR SUPPORT Why not register for our structured online support group? It lasts for four evenings and groups start on different days. You can register now - with no commitment - and we will give you the upcoming dates to choose from.
“I gained from the course more of an understanding of the problem I have faced throughout my life and have now got the belief to beat it” — Mr R, Amesbury