How can you tell when gambling is harming you?

Gambling Harms

Use the Risk Assessment Tool to see if you gamble within the guidelines

Answer a short series of question to see how you’re gambling measures against the Lower-Risk Gambling Guidelines (LRGG) and determine your overall risk.

How is gambling disorder diagnosed by clinicians?

Medical and psychological professionals refer to the American Psychological Association Criteria to diagnose a severe gambling problem which medical experts refer to by the technical term, Gambling Disorder (APA, DSM-V-TR). 

According to the APA criteria, an individual who, over a 12-month period meet four of these nine criteria devised by the American Psychiatric Association, is considered to have a gambling disorder:

  • Need to gamble with increasing amounts of money in order to achieve the desired excitement
  • Restless or irritable when attempting to cut down or stop gambling
  • Made repeated unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back, or stop gambling
  • Often preoccupied with gambling (e.g. having persistent thoughts of reliving past gambling experiences, handicapping or planning the next venture, thinking of ways to get money with which to gamble)
  • Often gamble when feeling distressed (e.g. helpless, guilty, anxious, depressed)
  • After losing money gambling, often return another day to get even (“chasing” one’s losses)
  • Lie to conceal the extent of involvement with gambling
  • Jeopardized or lost a significant relationship, job, or educational or career opportunity because of gambling
  • Rely on others to provide money to relieve desperate financial situations caused by gambling

Once diagnosed, there are three main treatment options for gambling disorder including 1) psychotherapy 2) medications 3) support groups.

Trained professionals who may be involved in treating a gambling disorder include mental health professionals, psychologists, psychiatrists, and family physicians.