Do you have a Gambling Problem?

Take the Gambling Self test to see if gambling treatment is what you need.

Last Door has qualified, effective staff and programs to treat co-existing addictive disorders. Staff training includes Level I and Level II Advanced Problem Gambling Training, Compulsive Gambling/Ethics and Family Treatment Training as adjuncts to addiction training for both adult and adolescents presenting with co-occurring gambling and substance addiction.

Last Door’s programs serve males ages 14 to 70. Last Door’s Problem Gamblingprograms use the South Oaks Gambling Screener to detect pathological gambling and streams those clients into specialized daily group sessions, weekly experiential groups and family groups. Last Door also facilitates access to community resources and supports like debt counselling and financial management as components of recovery from gambling disorders.

There is 24 hour free gambling counselling available from the Problem Gambling Help Line at 1-888-795-6111. A good resource for persons with Gambling Problems and for family members as well. If Gambling Addiction Treatment is needed please call us at 1-888-525-9771 for a telephone assessment. Click to view Last Door’s Gambling Addiction Presentation.

Gambling Addiction

Problem gambling can strain your relationships; interfere with responsibilities at home and work, and lead to financial catastrophe. Problem Gamblers may even do things they never thought they would, like stealing to get money to gamble or take money meant for your children. You may think you can’t stop, but problem gambling and gambling addiction are treatable. If you’re ready to admit you have a problem and seek help, you can overcome your gambling problem and regain control of your life.

Gambling addiction, also known as compulsive gambling, is a type of impulse-control disorder. Compulsive gamblers can’t control the impulse to gamble, even when they know their gambling is hurting themselves or their loved ones. Gambling is all they can think about and all they want to do, no matter the consequences. Compulsive gamblers keep gambling whether they’re up or down, broke or flush, happy or depressed. Even when they know the odds are against them, even when they can’t afford to lose, people with a gambling addiction can’t “stay off the bet.”
Gamblers can have a problem, however, without being totally out of control. Problem gambling is any gambling behaviour that disrupts your life. If you’re preoccupied with gambling, spending more and more time and money on it, chasing losses, or gambling despite serious consequences, you have agambling problem.

Gambling addiction is sometimes referred to as the “hidden illness” because there are no obvious physical signs or symptoms like there are in drug or alcohol addiction. Problem gamblers typically deny or minimize the problem. They also go to great lengths to hide their gambling. For example, problem gamblers often withdraw from their loved ones, sneak around, and lie about where they’ve been and what they’ve been up to.

You may have a gambling problem if you:

  • Feel the need to be secretive about your gambling. You might gamble in secret or lie about how much you gamble, feeling others won’t understand or that you will surprise them with a big win.
  • Have trouble controlling your gambling. Once you start gambling, can you walk away? Or are you compelled to gamble until you’ve spent your last dollar, upping your bets in a bid to win lost money back?
  • Gamble even when you don’t have the money. A red flag is when you are getting more and more desperate to recoup your losses. You may gamble until you’ve spent your last dollar, and then move on to money you don’t have- money to pay bills, credit cards, or things for your children. You may feel pushed to borrow, sell or even steal things for gambling money. It’s a vicious cycle. You may sincerely believe that gambling more money is the only way to win lost money back. But it only puts you further and further in the hole.
  • Family and friends are worried about you. Denial keeps problem gambling going. If friends and family are worried, listen to them carefully. Take a hard look at how gambling is affecting your life. It’s not a sign of weakness to ask for help.

Does my loved one have a gambling problem?

If your loved one has a gambling problem, he or she might:

  • Become increasingly defensive about his or her gambling. The more a problem gambler is in the hole, the more the need to defend gambling as a way to get money. Your loved one may get secretive, defensive or even blame you for the need to gamble, telling you that it is all for you and you need to trust in the “big win someday”.
  • Suddenly become secretive over money and finances. Your loved one might show a new desire to control household finances, or there might increasingly be a lack of money despite the same income and expenses. Savings and assets might mysteriously dwindle, or there may be unexplained loans or cash advances.
  • Become increasingly desperate for money to fund the gambling. Credit card bills may increase, or your loved one may ask friends and family for money. Jewelry or other items easily pawned for money may mysteriously disappear.
Video Transcription

Mitch: Someone who is addicted to gambling will do anything to get their substance of choice whether be it gambling, um, in this case, you lie, you’ll steal, you’ll defraud banks, you’ll do anything you can to get money just so you can gamble. I found for myself, I realized that I was a gambling addict when I was escaping life. I would spend mindless hours at a slot machine just to escape what I’m going through on a day-to-day basis just so I didn’t have to feel anything much like using drugs. Long story short, I amassed about a six figure debt before I came into treatment. That was from both gambling and substance abuse and just not taking care of yourself. I guess the last night I was out was the last night I used drugs and the last night I gambled. I woke up in my, um, office parking lot, on a Tuesday morning at about 4:30am, and I was, I had food all over me, casino receipts, there were drugs in my car, and people were going to start coming to work soon and I basically didn’t even realize how I got there at the time and I realized enough was enough and I just had that one moment of clarity where instead of saying I had to do something about it, I actually did. And, although at the time, once I sobered up a little bit, I realized oh my god I am entering treatment… well, It saved my life so I’m glad I’m here. The program at the Last Door teaches you that there is a community of recovery out there. The integrating into society… We’re not isolated in a forest somewhere. We’re encouraged to go to NA meetings, I was encouraged to go to GA meetings, and in turn we meet people who are outside of treatment who have been clean for numerous years and in turn just to give you additional insight and support and makes you realize you’re not alone in this world. Your problems are not unique to yourself. And then it often makes it a lot easier to identify with and deal with for that matter. I found that just by simply working a really, just a simply program of recovery in my life things are starting to go into place here. I’m able to pay down debt. Just been back to work a week or two already, and I already feel like I’ll have plenty of money to do what I need to do on a day-to-day basis to pay down debt and save for my future. I mean, life goes on. I used gambling to escape life. I mean, one time or another I was going for the rush of it, but at the end of the day I was escaping life. It was a compulsive act for me, much like my drug use. And I don’t need to escape the reality of my life today. The Last Door has enabled me to work on these things and identify these kinds of issues. Take responsibility in my life where I wasn’t willing to take responsibility, forgive things I wasn’t willing to forgive, and essentially heal myself.