A lot of people like to place the odd bet or play the lottery - but it’s only a problem for about nine people in every 1000. However, a further 70 people out of every 1000 gamble at risky levels that can become a problem in the future. Problem gambling disrupts or damages personal, family or recreational pursuits.

Gambling is like drinking and smoking. Just because there is an age limit doesn't mean you're not doing it anyway. So you are just as much at risk of becoming a compulsive gambler although you are a teenager.

So what?

It's easy for it to become an obsession which takes up too much time and more money than you have, leaving you open to the temptation to steal in order to carry on gambling. Take note of a short video outlining the odds of it doing you harm from Youth Gambling is not a Game:

 It's not just about placing a bet. It also includes

The Royal College of Pyschiatrists has a leaflet about problem gambling including who is most likely to have a problem. It might be you, or someone in your family.

And if you think it couldn't happen to you, it's just a problem in the USA, watch this news report about a man whose gambling addiction nearly cost him his life, and how you can get sucked into it even in the UK

GamCare provides support, information and advice to anyone suffering through a gambling problem. Their helpline 0808 8020 133 is available 8am - midnight, seven days a week, for emotional support, help and advice from trained counsellors. They also have Netline - 8am - midnight seven days a week online support from advisors, a moderated forum and chat facilities where you can share with other users of the site. They also have face to face counselling in some areas of the country.

Have you got a gambling problem?

Answer 'yes' or 'no' to each of these 10 questions:

  • Do I spend a lot of time thinking about gambling?
  • Am I spending larger amounts of money on my gambling?
  • Have I tried to cut down or stop gambling - but not been able to?
  • Do I get restless or irritable if I try to cut down my gambling?
  • Do I gamble to escape from life’s difficulties or to cheer myself up?
  • Do I carry on playing after losing money - to try and win it back?
  • Have I lied to other people about how much time or money I spend gambling ?
  • Have I ever stolen money to fund my gambling?
  • Has my gambling affected my relationships or my job?
  • Do I get other people to lend me money when I have lost? 

If you have answered 'yes'

  • Just once - May be a problem - this one thing may be enough of a problem to need help.
  • Three times - Problem gambling - your gambling probably feels out of control - think about getting help.
  • Five or more times - Pathological gambling - your gambling is probably affecting every part of your life - get help.

Jeremy Kyle talks about gambling addiction - from experience :

If YOU have the problem you can get help from a Gamblers' Anonymous group meeting. It has a 12-step programme to deal with it and fellow addicts to help and support each other. It has a website and a part-time helpline that is only for giving details of your nearest meeting.

If you are affected by someone else's gambling

Gam-Anon can help. Gam-Anon meetings are for the friends and families who have been affected by a gambling problem and are usually on the same nights as the Gamblers' Anonymous meetings but do not interact or share information. They have a list of questions for you to answer to see if you are living with a compulsive gambler.

If you need help and advice on practical problems like debt, housing or anything else which is made worse by the gambling habit, get in touch with Citizens' Advice or Connexions, Get Connected or any of the other people who can put you in touch with the help you need, and check out the relevant page on GTRT.

The page was last updated on 02 July 2014 by andrea.bateman.

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