Perhaps you’ve noticed that your loved one is coming home later at night, with a pocket full of ‘scratchies’? Perhaps there have been an increasing number of unexplained withdrawals from your bank account or an increasing number of visits to the pokies? Perhaps your loved one is irritable, has mood swings, and is defensive when confronted about being out of control with money?
These can all be preliminary signs of gambling addiction.
In our Australian culture various forms of gambling are accepted social activities, and many people can enjoy gambling without any negative consequences or resulting problems. Poker machines, lotto, ‘scratchies’, card games, racing and other forms of betting are forms of gambling prominent in Australia.
Problem gambling is any gambling behaviour that disrupts your life. If you’re obsessing about gambling, feeling a compulsion to gamble, spending increasing amounts of time and money on it, chasing losses to try and turn things around, or gambling despite serious consequences in your life, you likely have a problem with gambling.
Gambling addiction is not something that happens to others on the news – like all addiction, it occurs in secrecy and with denial. Apps on smart phones and tablets create access to live betting websites that bring opportunity and availability every moment of every day.
Gambling impacts the whole family, and it drives a cycle of despair that is difficult to break. Just like substance addiction, people experience compulsive cravings for gambling activities for temporary relief.