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Compulsive Gambling

For many people, gambling is fun and exciting but simply a form of entertainment. For others, gambling becomes an addiction.

For the compulsive gambler, the urge to gamble tends to grow stronger over time, while the negative results of the gambling grow worse. Once addicted, the compulsive gambler will risk finances, health, home, and family in order to keep gambling.

Compulsive gambling is a hidden addiction; although psychologically devastating, there are no obvious physical signs. Many gamblers need help recognizing the signs of an addiction; often others identify the problem before the gambler does.

Signs of problem gambling

Gambling becomes a problem when a person:

  • loses time from work, school or family life in order to gamble;
  • thinks continually of gambling and ways to get gambling money;
  • gambles until all the money is gone;
  • gambles to win back money lost through gambling;
  • lies to hide gambling activity;
  • relies on others to get themselves out of debt;
  • commits forgery, fraud, theft, or embezzles for gambling money; or
  • fails repeatedly to reduce or stop gambling.

Help for compulsive gambling

Compulsive gambling is treatable. Call UHS’ Center for Counseling and Psychological Health, (413) 545-2337 or the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program, (413) 545-0350 for information. You'll also find links to recovery programs and information on area meetings on this site.