Gambling is normative behavior in most adults. Approximately 3% of gamblers will experience problems. Compulsive, problem or pathological gambling is often called the “hidden illness” because there are few of the outward signs and symptoms that may be present with alcoholism or other dependencies. Colleagues, families and friends of problem gamblers are often shocked when they learn about a problem and how serious it has become.
A simple two-question test, called the Lie-Bet tool is a starting point for considering whether you or someone you care about has a problem.
1. Have you ever felt the need to bet more and more money?
2. Have you ever had to lie to people important to you about how much you gambled?
If the answer to either of these questions is yes, more assessment is appropriate. Call LCL for an appointment to discuss your concerns.
The Northstar Problem Gambling Alliance is a tremendous resource for people who are concerned about potential problem gambling behavior. Their site includes a 2 minute risk assessment test.
Gamblers Anonymous is a 12-step program for problem gamblers.
Gam-Anon is available for people who are affected by a problem gambler.
Get Gambling Help provides immediate access to help for problem gamblers and those concerned about them.
Other Compulsive Behaviors
Gambling is one example of a compulsive behavior. The cravings for someone who compulsively shoplifts, engages in compulsive sexual behavior, is a compulsive spender, or seems addicted to the internet is as strong as for an alcoholic or drug addict. LCL can be the place to start if you are concerned about your own feelings or behaviors or those of another. There is no judgment, just help.