While many people enjoy a bit of gambling – be it betting on their favourite sports team or playing the slot machines at a casino – some people can become addicted to it and end up taking their own life.
This is according to the National Gambling Board (NGB), which says the link between problem gambling and suicide is often overlooked.
Various research studies, including one conducted by the NGB, indicate that gambling can cause various emotional and behavioural issues, including anxiety and depression caused by losing money and finding oneself in debt.
Research also indicates that gambling is fast becoming a public health concern in many countries, and often occurs with other behavioural and psychological disorders, such as mental health problems and substance abuse.
Do you have a gambling addiction?
The Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI) – used by mental healthcare professionals to identify if an individual is at risk of developing a gambling addiction – uses a set of questions to determine people’s gambling habits.
While not a clinical diagnosis of having a gambling addiction, the PGSI enables gamblers to start thinking about their behaviour objectively and to reach out for professional help if they need to.
According to the PGSI, you may have a gambling addiction if you have ever:
- Bet more than you can afford to lose.
- Needed to gamble with larger amounts of money to get the same feeling of excitement.
- Returned to where you gambled to try and win your money back.
- Borrowed money or sold something to gamble.
- Felt you might have a gambling problem.
- Been criticised for your betting or told you had a gambling problem.
- Felt guilty about the way you gamble or what happens when you gamble.
- Had health problems, including stress or anxiety, as a result of gambling.
- Had financial problems caused by gambling.
Information supplied by the NGB.
Get the help you need
If you think you may have a gambling addiction, call the South African Responsible Gambling Foundation, which runs the National Responsible Gambling Programme, at 0800 006 008 toll-free.
The helpline is available 24/7. Counselling services are provided over the phone or through referrals for face-to-face treatment through a national network of professionals.