Problem gambling is defined as a gambling behavior that causes disruptions in any major area of life: social, psychological, physical or vocational.
Many people with gambling problems are compulsive gamblers. This is a progressive addiction characterized by increasing occupation with gambling, restlessness when attempting to stop, a need to bet more money more frequently, a loss of control resulting in continuation of the gambling behavior in spite of serious negative consequences.
There are several warning signs to be aware of if you suspect that you have gambling problems:
You play for more money than you originally intended.
You loose your sense of time when you gamble and play longer than you planned.
You don't quit when you are winning and usually end up loosing it all back.
You become irritated when someone or something interrupts your gambling.
You return to win back money you have lost earlier.
You spend more and more time gambling, thinking about gambling, preparing for gambling and getting money for gambling.
You increase your wages in order to feel the same thrill and excitement.
You increase wages when you win.
You have a strong belief that you will win big when you start gambling, even though the chance in reality is really small.
You think that the reason for your losses is that you didn't prepare enough or haven't learned the game yet. You underestimate the importance of chance in the game.
You gamble for more money than you want to tell your family and/or friends.
You start to lie or withhold the truth from the people close to you.
You prioritize the game ahead of your family, friends and/or work.
If you recognize several of these warning signs in regard to your own gambling you might need help. If you feel that you want to talk to someone about your gambling you should contact a local organization helping people with gambling problems.
Gamblers Anonymous have local groups all over the world. Most online casinos and poker rooms promote responsible gambling and they can help you to set deposit limits or to self exclude yourself from the casino. Information about this can be found on their web pages.
Here are some useful resources if you suspect that you are someone you know has gambling problems:Gamblers Anonymous Responsible Gambling Council (Canada) National Council on Problem Gambling, Helpline: 1-800-522-4700 GamCare (UK), Helpline: 0845-6000-13