How does gambling become addictive?
Gambling may start off as a leisure activity. However, without proper control, you and your loved ones may experience negative consequences. While some people can stop playing when they want to, others continue to gamble because of the excitement and inability to recognise when to stop. Over time, their brain’s reward systems get altered and habits become hard to break. Before they realise it, they have become addicted to gambling. This can happen to anyone.
The process is like smoking and alcohol addiction.
Learn how problem gambling develops and how it may be experienced at each stage. At different levels of severity, there are actions you can take to help yourself or your loved ones.
|Phase||How it may be like||What you can do|
|Winning||Positive experience due to wins. |
Continue to try to win more, or adjust gambling patterns to find a winning strategy
May take more chances and bet with larger amount of money to experience more wins and larger wins
|Set a time and budget limit and stick to it |
Bring limited amount of cash to a gambling venue
Ensure that other financial and life commitments have been taken care of
Keep track of your gambling frequency, duration, and money used to gamble
Consider applying for safeguards such as a Voluntary Visit Limit to the number of visits to local Casinos
|Losing||Start experiencing consecutive losses|
Spending more time gambling than usual
Exceed initial budget and start to use personal and family's savings to gamble
May try to cover up or lie about gambling behaviour to loved ones
The quality of relationships with loved ones and friends, colleagues, etc. starts to decline
Work may be affected
|Minimise accessibility to gambling venues by applying for safeguards such as: |
Apply to restrict borrowing from Licensed Moneylender.
[Moneylenders Credit Bureau]
Set daily withdrawal limits and appoint a trusted party to handle your money
Speak to someone early, such as a counsellor, to work on managing the gambling behaviours
|Desperation||Lose control over gambling behaviour and constantly think about gambling|
May feel guilt and ashamed but unable to stop gambling
May think that “one big win will solve all the problems” and chase losses
Engage in behaviours that one would not have considered in the past to get money to gamble
Other aspects of life heavily impacted:
Strained relationships, poor work performance, brushes with the law, etc.
Increasing signs of mental health concerns such as being easily irritable, feeling depressed and thinking about suicide
|Speak to someone for emotional support and to work through the situation immediately:|
Family members may apply for Family Exclusion Order on the gambler.
Feelings of giving up
emotional distress and serious contemplation of suicide