Reasons for Seeking Help

Once you realize gambling is causing problems, you may simply need to get more information. The terms problem, pathological, or compulsive gambling are often confusing.

Problem Gambling

Participation in any form of gambling to the extent that it creates any negative consequences to the gambler, their family, place of employment, or community. This includes patterns of gambling and related behaviors (usually financial issues) that compromise, disrupt, or damage personal, family, educational and/or vocational interests.


Most severe form of problem gambling. It is persistent, maladaptive gambling behavior that compromises, disrupts and damages personal, family or vocational pursuits leading to adverse consequences. Yet it is diagnosable and treatable (sometimes with behavior modification and/or medication).

You may also wonder whether one can benefit from treatment services, as a problem gambler or significant other. Below are some warning signs for the gambler:

  • Gambling is out of control – unable to stop; creating financial problems; impacting daily living activities and relationships, etc.
  • Lying about gambling activity to family and friends
  • Stealing from family, friends, employer to pay gambling debts

Family members also need help to reduce the impact of problem gambling, improve their lives and take better care of themselves. They can learn to better manage their resentment and insecurity and feel more confident about the future.

Typically, treatment addresses the following issues:

  • Finding hope
  • Reducing financial pressure
  • Regaining self-esteem
  • Coping with guilt, shame, and remorse
  • Stopping gambling
  • Coping with urges and cravings to gamble
  • Developing healthy relationships
  • Regaining trust and becoming trustworthy
  • Returning to rational thinking