The irresistible urge to gamble despite negative consequences can cause major disruptions in all aspects of life. Problem gambling can damage personal and family relationships, jeopardize household finances, disrupt work performance and put physical and mental health at risk. It is characterized by a progressive need to bet more, gamble more frequently and an increase in restlessness, irritability or other change in behavior.
Holland Hospital Behavioral Health Services is the only provider in Ottawa or Allegan County that is authorized by the State of Michigan to offer state-funded care (at no charge to the client) for oproblem gambling concerns. Contact the Problem Gambling Hotline or Behavioral Health Services for a free screening.
At what point does gambling become more than just a short-term recreational activity?
- Are you neglecting your bills?
- Have you used your savings, insurance, retirement or investment money to gamble?
- Do you have large credit card debt because of gambling?
- Are you neglecting your health or personal needs
- Are you withdrawing from family or friends?
- Are you spending more time in secret gambling activities?
- Do you find you mood changes with wins and losses?
Answering yes to even a few of these questions can indicate that gambling is becoming a problem. There are some steps that can be taken to safeguard against problem gambling.
- Always gamble with others and not alone. Having friends, family or colleagues nearby can help keep gambling from getting out of hand.
- Set limits on how much time and money you spend, stop when limits are reached.
- Never gamble on credit
- Don't use household money for gambling
- Don't drink alcohol while gambling
According to the National Council on Problem Gambling, 75% of US adults have gambled at least once in the last year and 15% gamble on a weekly basis. Approximately 6 million adults meet the criteria for gambling addiction.
One suggestion is to set some gambling limits and then tell someone who can help you to stay accountable.
Limit the amount of:
- Money I am willing to lose
- Time I will spend at the casino
- Money I will win and leave immediately
- Times a month I will gamble
- Don't gamble alone
- Don't gamble when under the influence of negative emotions
- Call someone when you leave and return home from gambling
- Leave extra cash, banking or credit cards and checks at home
- Mandatory 15 min. break (walk around) every two hours of play
- Do not drink alcohol while at the casino
- Make plans for your day before and after gambling
- Set banking card up as deposit only
- Gamble for recreation, not to make money
- If you begin to change any of your goals while gambling, stop
- Don't spend more than 5% of your net monthly income