Gambling is the act of taking part in an activity—usually a game—where you risk something of monetary value on the chance of winning something. Gambling stimulates similar reward centers in the brain that using drugs activate. Like drug use, gambling is also addictive, and continuing to gamble despite suffering serious consequences is problem gambling. Prolonged problem gambling can result in disordered gambling, which can harm the gambler and loved ones.
Warning Signs of Problem Gambling
Anyone who gambles is at risk of developing a gambling disorder. Problem gambling is gambling that continues despite adverse effects. Like other diseases, gambling addiction has symptoms that can be observed. While everyone’s addiction may appear differently, here are common signs of problem gambling:
- Borrowing for gambling
- Lying about time or money spent on gambling
- Hiding time spent gambling or bills and unpaid debts
- Restlessness or irritability when not gambling
- Spending a lot of time thinking about or planning to gamble
- Exaggerating wins or minimizing losses
Anyone who gambles can become addicted to problem gambling. If you’re concerned about you or someone you know, get help at gamblinghelpohio.org or call the Ohio Problem Gambling Helpline at 1-800-589-9966.
If You Gamble Get Set Before You Bet
The surest way not to become addicted to gambling is to refrain from gambling. However, if you gamble, there are steps you can take to protect yourself:
- Limit time/money spent on gambling
- Balance recreational gambling with healthy activities
- Gamble only with money budgeted for entertainment
- Never borrow money to gamble
- Know the risks before you bet, and know that everyone loses over time
- Play for fun, not for money.
- Get more tips at beforeyoubet.org.
Problem Gambling Resources
Below are resources about problem gambling, including ways you can work to prevent problem gambling, links to statewide and national resource centers, and an advisory about problem gambling from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
If you’re concerned about you or someone you know, get help at gamblinghelpohio.org or call the Ohio Problem Gambling Helpline at 1-800-589-9966.