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Gambling Addiction

Not all those who gamble have a problem. There are significant differences between those who gamble occasionally, those whose entertainment of choice is gambling and those who let gambling become a serious problem.

Gambling becomes a problem when it comes before work and family, or when gambling continues despite the financial and social problems it is causing.

Problem gambling can cause financial burdens when the gambler is unable to stop or is relying on a win to get them out of debt – this can result in larger and larger amounts of money being wagered. The withdrawal from friends and family, combined with the fear of growing debt or continued losses can lead to mood swings, anxiety, anger, depression or thoughts of suicide.

Quick facts:

  • A 2009 study found 3.2 per cent of Canadian adults and 2.2 per cent of youth (between 15 and 24 years) are at moderate risk of developing a gambling problem or are already problem-gamblers.[1]
  • Pathological gambling typically begins in adolescence in men and between the ages of 20 and 40 in women.[2]
  • Men who gamble are more likely than women to be at-risk of developing a gambling problem or are already problem-gamblers.[3]
  • Suicide rates are higher for those with problem gambling than the rest of the population. [4]

Recognizing

According to the Canadian Public Health Association, the following signs can point to problem gambling:[5]

  • Excessive time gambling and frequent thoughts about gambling
  • Increasing bet sizes and growing debts
  • Lying about or hiding your gambling
  • Ignoring important family and social occasions to gamble
  • Relying on a potential big-win to solve your financial problems

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[1] Facts About Problem Gambling in Canada. Problem Gambling.ca. http://www.problemgambling.ca/EN/Documents/FA_GamblingProblemGamblinginCanada.pdf

[2] Pathological gambling. NIH National Institutes of Health. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001520.htm

[4] The Effects of Gambling. Problem Gambling Institute of Ontario. http://www.problemgambling.ca/en/aboutgamblingandproblemgambling/pages/theeffectsofgambling.aspx

[5] Online Gambling: Is addiction one click away? Canadian Public Health Association. http://www.cpha.ca/en/portals/substance/article05.aspx