Gambling: A Hidden Addiction PDF Version When you or someone you care about has a problem: There are many forms of addictive behaviors – alcohol, tobacco, prescription drugs, food, etc. Gambling, when it becomes an obsession is one of the more hidden yet devastating addictions if not treated. An addiction to gambling is not detectable by just looking at the person. Recreational Gambling For most individuals gambling in its many forms e.g. races, card games, bingo, lotteries, is nothing more than a form of relaxation and recreation mixed with a bit of excitement. When then does this become a serious problem? Compulsive Gambling Heineman, in When Someone You Love Gambles, defines compulsive gambling as: “a progressive disease in which its victims pass through three specific phases – winning, losing, and desperation. Family members, and friends of compulsive gamblers, proceed through similar phases as they are affected by this illness.” Winning phase – Not dissimilar to recreational gambling. It’s still fun, losses are affordable and the activity is often supported by family. Losing phase –The frequency and amount of losses affects personal finances, tensions mount, and family tries to stop the gambler. Desperation phase - The gambler’s energy is focused on finding some illegal ways to raise money to support the habit. Fear haunts the family – fear of destitution, job loss, the law, their safety and sanity. At the desperation phase, gambling is no longer a choice. Instead it controls the person. Gambling Signs in the Worksetting It cannot be overstated that one must use extreme caution in drawing conclusions about a colleague (even privately)! First, any of the following symptoms may be signaling other types of issues in a colleague’s life. Secondly, we do not evaluate our colleague’s performance. Leave that up to your principal. Lesieur, in Understanding Compulsive Gambling, highlights some possible indicators of someone in trouble:
If you have answered yes to at least seven of these questions you may be a compulsive gambler. There is help and hope available.Supporting Your Colleague:It is the responsibility of the principal and the employer to fully address performance concerns related to a gambling problem.Avoid Enabling
Enabling behaviour prevents the individual from experiencing the consequences of the problem and places them at greater risks re their employment.
For support contact: Responsible Gambling Council 416-499-9800 or for members’ rights and obligations call PRS at 416-962-3836 or 1-888-838-3836