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How you can tell if there's an issue

Today, gambling is everywhere. It's heavily promoted and widely accepted across all age groups. This means more people are exposed to it than ever before.

People gamble for many reasons – for excitement, for the thrill of winning, or to be social. It can often be hard to tell when it stops being fun and starts becoming a problem.

Gambling becomes a problem when it harms:

  • mental or physical health
  • work, school and other activities
  • finances
  • reputation
  • relationships with family and friends.

How does problem gambling start?

Money-related signs

  • unexplained debt or borrowing
  • money or assets disappearing
  • numerous loans
  • unpaid bills or disconnection notices
  • lack of food in the house
  • losing wallets or money regularly
  • missing financial statements
  • secret bank accounts, loans or credit cards

Interpersonal issues

  • moodiness, unexplained anger
  • depression
  • decreased contact with friends
  • family complaints about being emotionally shut out
  • avoidance of social events
  • control or manipulation by threat, lies or charm
  • secretiveness about activities

Time-related signs

  • disappearing for amounts of time that they cannot account for
  • having no time for everyday activities
  • overusing sick days and days off
  • spending increased amounts of time on studying gambling
  • taking an unusual amount of time for tasks (for example, taking two hours to get milk from the corner store).

Getting help

Muslim woman chatting over coffee

Deciding to talk about it

If you think someone close to you has a gambling problem, taking the first step to help them can be difficult. They may feel embarrassed or ashamed, or they may actually feel in control of their gambling and think they don't need to change.

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A young man sitted on a sofa having a discussion with an older male

Practical ways to help

One of the very first steps to recovery is talking about it. If someone close to you has a gambling problem, an honest, non-confrontational conversation may be just what they need to get started on the road to recovery.

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Making an action plan

Make an action plan

Returning to gambling is a common problem for people trying to stop. If you are helping someone close to you recover from problem gambling, it can be useful to have a plan in place to help keep them headed in the right direction.

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