Gambling is generally supposed to be an entertaining pastime, just like cinemas, video games, fun parks, and many other types of entertainment. But for a number of people, unlike other fun pastimes, gambling grows into something serious, something important and addictive. The question is: “When does casual gambling become problem gambling?”
This question is extremely difficult to answer, because it varies from person to person. In reality, the problem appears when gambling occupies too large a role in a person’s life, when you stop gambling for pleasure but rather out of compulsion. You may well think that problem gambling happens other people, to people who have no real self-control, but that’s not the case. Anyone can become a problem gambler without even noticing it.
That’s why everyone who gambles needs to be self analytical and raise awareness of those around them. If you notice that you or anyone around you gambles continuously, even though you can notice its harmful effects or perhaps feel the urge to stop, even though you feel like your losses are significantly impacting your finances or your personal life, it’s time to seek some help. And help is close at hand. The first ones you can address are the ones closest to you – your family, friends. Their support and understanding can play the crucial role in solving your problem.
However, if you’d rather try and seek help elsewhere, to feel more comfortable in your anonymity, there are always associations and foundations which provide support services for people who are experiencing problem gambling or suffering from its effects. Those organizations offer 24/7 help lines for instant support to problem gamblers, workshops and therapy sessions for anonymous gamblers, and many other types of guidance about ways to improve your situation.
Those organizations work either on a global level, such as gamblersanonymous.org, responsiblegambling.org, gamtalk.org or operate on a national and state level, like ncpgambling.org, problemgambling.vic.gov.au, gamcare.co.uk, problemgambling.ca, gamblingproblem.co.nz and many others.
Therefore, if you feel the need for some counseling, remember that help is just a step away.