Do I have a Gambling Problem? How to assess betting habits

Jun 6, 2024

Gambling is more accessible than ever, with 48 states allowing some form of it, and 38 states plus Washington, D.C. offering legalized sports betting. Brands like FanDuel, DraftKings, Caesars and BetMGM dominate the market with sportsbooks, casinos, daily fantasy sports, and now even lottery products. 

With the rise of these platforms and their pervasive advertising, gambling options are plentiful and gaming revenue are continuing to increase. A recent survey from NerdWallet found that 62% of respondents have gambled in some form in the last 12 months. Alongside the increases in popularity, the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) now estimates that nearly 10 million U.S. adults may struggle with Gambling Addiction. 

If you or someone you know has had gambling become a time- or cost-consuming part of life, you might wonder, “is it a gambling problem?” For some, the dopamine rushes from gambling can mask the consequences, making it crucial to critically and properly assess betting habits.

Some people bet regularly without it becoming an issue that affects them financially or from a mental health perspective. But it's essential to monitor those habits to prevent developing an addiction and to protect those around you from the potential negative impacts.

Building proper betting habits

While a significant lack of adequate government funding in the fight against Gambling Addiction persists, understanding the psychology behind sports betting can help equip consumers with practical tactics to maintain healthy betting behaviors:

  • Evaluating your betting behaviors starts with self-awareness. Mastering emotional control is essential for sustainable betting. Recognize and manage your emotions using mindfulness techniques to avoid impulsive decisions. Accept losses as part of the norm, and aim to maintain a steady mindset regardless of outcomes. If you cannot, and uncontrollable emotional swings become part of your betting behaviors, it’s a major warning sign of a serious problem.

  • Improve your decision-making by recognizing biases. Regularly question your thought processes and avoid snap judgments. Analyze information objectively to make well-informed choices. If you find yourself placing random, uninformed, “throwing darts” type of bets, it could be another sign of an issue.

  • Keep detailed records of your bets and outcomes. Analyze both wins and losses to identify patterns. Reviewing past decisions provides valuable insights for the future. A common issue among individuals struggling with a gambling disorder is losing track of how much they’ve lost before it’s too late, so it’s critical to have a tracking system to monitor how you are doing relative to your total bankroll.

The “red flags” of Problem Gambling

Recognizing the warning signs of a Gambling Disorder is essential for prevention and early intervention. Financial problems are often telling indicators. These can include gambling with increasing amounts of money to satisfy the chase, borrowing money from friends or family, taking out loans, late or unpaid bills, or neglecting the purchase of household essentials.

A decline in personal well-being is another significant red flag category. This can manifest as irritation and restlessness when trying to cut back on gambling, feeling mentally preoccupied with the next bet, or conflicts with colleagues, friends or family. Chasing losses, becoming absent from social events, poor performance at work or school, changes in personality and gambling when upset or under the influence of drugs and alcohol are also key indicators.

Recognizing these signs early and seeking help can prevent further deterioration of personal and financial well-being. Open communication with trusted individuals and professional guidance are vital steps in addressing Gambling Disorder.

Medical diagnosis of Gambling Disorder

A medical diagnosis of Gambling Disorder, classified as a non-substance behavioral addiction by the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), requires a thorough assessment by psychologists or licensed counselors. The diagnosis involves a nine-item assessment to gauge the severity of the disorder.

An individual who exhibits 4-5 of the following behaviors within a 12-month period may be diagnosed with a mild gambling disorder, while 6-7 of the criteria met merits a moderate disorder. Lastly, if an individual exhibits 8-9 of the items, it may classify as a severe addiction:

  • Constantly thinking about gambling

  • Increasing the amount wagered to maintain excitement

  • Feeling agitated or anxious when trying to reduce gambling

  • Failing to successfully limit or stop gambling

  • Using gambling as a way to deal with negative emotions like helplessness, guilt, anxiety or depression

  • Trying to win back lost money by continuing to gamble

  • Concealing the extent of gambling activities

  • Risking or losing important relationships, jobs or educational/career opportunities due to gambling

  • Depending on others for financial help because of gambling-related losses

The good news is that there are effective treatment options available for Gambling Disorder. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), support groups or professional counseling can provide the necessary support and strategies to manage the addiction. Early diagnosis and intervention are crucial in mitigating the adverse effects of Gambling Disorder and improving the quality of life for affected individuals.

The next step: How to begin recovery for Problem Gambling

Recognizing that there is a problem is the first step toward recovery. If you are honest with yourself and realize the toll gambling has taken on your life, it’s time to seek help. If you are diagnosed by a clinician with a Gambling Disorder, the next steps involve regular treatment through therapy or counseling with licensed professionals. 

Birches Health is a Gambling Addiction telehealth treatment company that builds care plans tailored to your needs. After a brief assessment and intake session, you will meet with a therapist from the Birches team of counselors. Sessions are completely virtual, so you don’t have to leave home to receive proper treatment. With $25 or less in out-of-pocket costs for 90% of patients, Birches looks to make sure that finances are never a blocker to care. The treatment program also includes careful aftercare to help prevent relapse.

Beyond teletherapy, there are other resources available such as Gamblers Anonymous and local support groups. 

Taking these steps today can help you regain control and build a healthier, more balanced life free from the grips of Gambling Addiction.

Sources:

DraftKings

NerdWallet

OddsTrader

Could I have a gambling problem?  

DSM-5-TR Diagnostic Criteria for Gambling Disorder

Massachusetts aims to expand Problem Gambling research, resources

Jun 20, 2024

Jonathan

Lies Gamblers Tell

Jun 19, 2024

Jonathan

Pathological Gambling: How to assess it & get help today

Jun 18, 2024

Jonathan

North Carolina Sports Betting: May 2024 Stats & Figures

Jun 17, 2024

Jonathan

Slot Machines on U.S. Military Bases Could be Banned

Jun 16, 2024

Jonathan

Gamblers Anonymous alternatives: Virtual treatment from home

Jun 13, 2024

Jonathan

Can I Make A Lot of Money Gambling? Betting Chances Explained

Jun 12, 2024

Jonathan

Gambling Debts: Resources to Help in 2024 

Jun 12, 2024

Jonathan

The Psychology of Gambling Addiction

Jun 9, 2024

Jonathan

Gambling Addiction Help Online: Virtual Treatment Guide

Jun 8, 2024

Jonathan

Do I have a Gambling Problem? How to assess betting habits

Jun 6, 2024

Jonathan

Holistic Therapy: What It Is, Benefits, and Concerns

Jun 5, 2024

Jonathan

Betting Vs Gambling – What's the Difference?

Jun 5, 2024

Jonathan

Exploring Video Game Gambling

Jun 5, 2024

Jonathan

Am I a Gambling Addict? Evaluating betting behaviors

Jun 4, 2024

Jonathan

My Dad Has a Gambling Addiction: How to Help

Jun 4, 2024

Jonathan

The Connection Between Gambling and Social Media

May 31, 2024

Jonathan

Gambling Recovery: How to start the journey today

May 31, 2024

Jonathan

Problem Gambling behaviors to avoid during summer break

May 30, 2024

Jonathan

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Gambling Addiction

May 29, 2024

Jonathan

Gambling & Alcohol: Bettors More Likely to Binge Drink

May 28, 2024

Jonathan

10 Gambling Addiction Facts: Understanding Problem Gambling

May 27, 2024

Jonathan

Exploring Female Gambling Addiction

May 25, 2024

Jonathan

Navigating the World of Pattern Day Trading: Is it Gambling?   

May 24, 2024

Jonathan

Symptoms of Gambling Addiction: Problem Gambling Effects on You 

May 23, 2024

Jonathan

How big of a problem is Gambling Addiction in the United States?

May 22, 2024

Jonathan

The Science of Addiction

May 21, 2024

Jonathan

Family Therapy for Gambling Addiction

May 20, 2024

Jonathan

What is Residential Treatment for Gambling Addiction

May 17, 2024

Jonathan

Group Therapy for Gambling Addiction

May 16, 2024

Jonathan

Lottery Addiction: Guide to Help and Recovery 

May 15, 2024

Jonathan

Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Gambling Addiction

May 15, 2024

Jonathan

10 Gambling Addiction Quotes: From Realization to Recovery

May 14, 2024

Jonathan

Help For Family Members of Gambling Addicts

May 13, 2024

Jonathan

Essential Books on Gambling Addiction

May 11, 2024

Jonathan

Is Day Trading Legal?

May 4, 2024

Jonathan

Hypnotherapy for Gambling Addiction

May 3, 2024

Jonathan

Dangerous Gaming: Dave & Buster's introduces betting on arcade games 

May 2, 2024

Jonathan

The Relationship Between Problem Gambling and Suicide

Apr 30, 2024

Jonathan

Self Help for Gambling Addiction

Apr 29, 2024

Jonathan

Can poker become an addiction?

Apr 27, 2024

Jonathan

Naltrexone for Gambling Addiction

Apr 26, 2024

Jonathan

Understanding the Stages of Gambling Addiction

Apr 25, 2024

Jonathan

What Are The Negative Effects of Gambling

Apr 22, 2024

Jonathan

Gambling Addiction Intervention

Apr 20, 2024

Jonathan

Overview of 12-Step Program for Gambling Addiction 

Apr 19, 2024

Jonathan

Support Groups for Gambling Addiction

Apr 16, 2024

Jonathan

Managing Gambling Addiction Relapses

Apr 12, 2024

Jonathan

U.S. Sports Betting Statistics April 2024: Legalization, growth & addiction rising

Apr 12, 2024

Jonathan

My Mom Has a Gambling Addiction: What to Do

Apr 8, 2024

Jonathan

Understanding In-Network and Out-of-Network Providers for Behavioral Addictions

Apr 1, 2024

Jonathan

Has America become a “society of gamblers”?

Mar 28, 2024

Jonathan

How Can I Stop My Child From Gambling

Mar 27, 2024

Jonathan

Birches Health Partners with BettorEdge

Mar 20, 2024

Jonathan

Birches Health Announces Partnership with SaharaBets

Mar 19, 2024

Jonathan

Gambling Addiction Rates Hit All-Time High in U.S.

Mar 13, 2024

Jonathan

Signs of Teen Gambling

Mar 13, 2024

Jonathan

Free Gambling Addiction Treatment

Feb 29, 2024

Jonathan

SNL Sports Betting sketch spotlights real Gambling Addiction issues 

Feb 26, 2024

Jonathan

New U.S. Gambling Stats: Record figures as Addiction also grows

Feb 22, 2024

Jonathan

What will be the social costs of increased gambling? Who will pay them?

Feb 19, 2024

Jonathan

Is it Legal to Bet on the Daytona 500?

Feb 16, 2024

Jonathan

Media Takes Note of America's Increase in Problem Gambling

Feb 15, 2024

Jonathan

What are the Psychological Effects of Gambling?

Jan 31, 2024

Jonathan

Is Day Trading Gambling?

Feb 11, 2024

Jonathan

What are the Different Types of Gamblers?

Feb 12, 2024

Jonathan

Understanding Behavior Disorders

Jan 23, 2024

Jonathan

The Gambling Addiction Recovery, Investment, And Treatment (GRIT) Act

Jan 14, 2024

Jonathan

What is the Cycle of Addiction and How to Break It

Jan 9, 2024

Jonathan

I Lost All My Money Gambling. What Now?

Dec 29, 2023

Jonathan

Your 2024 New Year's Resolution: Stop Sports Betting and Online Gambling

Dec 24, 2023

Elliott

Why Do Addicts Relapse?

Dec 20, 2023

Jonathan

Is Gambling a Sin?

Dec 18, 2023

Jonathan

Staging a Gambling Intervention for a Loved One

Dec 13, 2023

Jonthan

Signs of Gambling Addiction in a Spouse

Nov 30, 2023

Jonathan

Gambling and Divorce: Statistics and Information

Nov 26, 2023

Jonathan

What is DFS Gambling?

Nov 19, 2023

Jonathan

Addiction Specialist: Helping You Overcome Addiction

Nov 18, 2023

Jonathan

Exploring the Different Types of Gambling

Nov 8, 2023

Jonathan

Technology Addiction: Signs and Treatment

Oct 30, 2023

Jonathan

Is Options Trading Gambling?

Oct 23, 2023

Jonathan

Gambling Addiction and Treatment

Oct 16, 2023

Jonathan

Sex Addiction Treatment and Therapy Options

Oct 14, 2023

Jonathan

Signs of Gambling Addiction

Oct 7, 2023

Jonathan

Is the Stock Market Gambling?

Sep 25, 2023

Jonathan

Tips for Finding a Gambling Rehab Center

Sep 24, 2023

Jonathan

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Pathological Gambling

Sep 23, 2023

Jonathan

What Causes Porn Addiction?

Sep 18, 2023

Jonathan

Video Game Addiction

Sep 16, 2023

Jonathan

Porn Addiction Signs & Symptoms

Sep 11, 2023

Jonathan

Gambling Addiction Withdrawal Symptoms & Signs

Aug 29, 2023

Jonathan

How to Stop Online Gambling

Aug 27, 2023

Jonathan

Does Medicare Cover Gambling Rehab?

Aug 19, 2023

Jonathan

Gambling and Dopamine

Aug 12, 2023

Jonathan

Porn Addiction Counseling

Aug 7, 2023

Jonathan

Is Fantasy Football Gambling?

Jul 24, 2023

Jonathan

Signs of a Day Trading Problem

Jul 19, 2023

Jonathan

Why is Gambling Addictive?

Jul 18, 2023

Jonathan

The Arizona Lottery and Gambling

Jul 16, 2023

Jonathan

Is Poker Gambling?

Jul 15, 2023

Jonathan

Is Crypto Gambling?

Jul 14, 2023

Jonathan

Gambling and Sports Betting Among College Students

Jul 8, 2023

Jonathan

Updates made to gambling disorder across the DSM-III, DSM-IV, DSM-5

Updates Made to Gambling Disorder Clinical Criteria Between DSM-III, DSM-IV, and DSM-5

Jul 8, 2023

Cara Anderson

Combatting Gambling and Alcohol Addiction

Jun 30, 2023

Jonathan

Medication for Gambling Addiction

Jun 27, 2023

Jonathan

The Seven Types of Gamblers: Are You One of Them?

Jun 25, 2023

Elliott Rapaport

10 Questions to Ask If You Think Your Loved One Has a Gambling Problem

Jun 24, 2023

Cara Anderson

Las Vegas - often called the gambling capital of the world

Exploring the History of Gambling in the US

Jun 17, 2023

Elliott Rapaport

Gambling Treatment in Arizona

Jun 15, 2023

Jonathan

Voluntary Self Exclusion to Stop Online Gambling

Jun 15, 2023

Cara Anderson

Does Blue Cross Blue Shield Cover Gambling Treatment?

Jun 13, 2023

Jonathan

Gambling Addiction Hotline

Jun 5, 2023

Jonathan

How to Stop Gambling

Jun 1, 2023

Jonathan

Can Gambling Addiction Be Cured?

May 31, 2023

Jonathan

problem gambler worried about addiction

Why Is Gambling So Addictive?

May 30, 2023

Elliott Rapaport

Medication that can cause gambling

Abilify and Compulsive Gambling

May 26, 2023

Jonathan

A man who has regained control of his life by stopping gambling and online sports betting

How to Stop Gambling: Strategies for Regaining Control

May 21, 2023

Cara Anderson

This man stopped gambling by recognizing his online sports betting problem

How to Stop Gambling and Save Money

May 18, 2023

Cara Anderson

People celebrating being free of a gambling addiction

How to Help Someone with a Gambling Addiction

May 16, 2023

Elliott Rapaport

The Growing Phenomenon of Cryptocurrency Addiction: What Traders Need to Know About Crypto Addiction

Cryptocurrency Addiction

May 9, 2023

Tobias Jackson

The stock market graph of a day trader who has a day trading addiction

How Day Trading Can Create a Dangerous Addiction

May 4, 2023

Elliott Rapaport

Younger individuals gathered around a computer talking about a gambling addiction meme

How Addictive Memes Have Fueled Problem Gamblers

May 2, 2023

Elliott Rapaport

Man in the middle of taking a Do I have a Gambling Problem Quiz

Clinical Screening Tools and Quizzes to Answer the Question: "Do I have a Gambling Problem?"

May 1, 2023

Tobias Jackson

Insurance paperwork that Birches clients do not need to go through as Birches Health handles all administrative and payment matters for them!

Insurance Coverage for Gambling Addiction in 2023

Apr 29, 2023

Elliott Rapaport

Couple hugging as the man has a gambling addiction and the woman, his loved one, is able to support him through it.

Helping a Loved One with a Gambling Addiction

Apr 27, 2023

Cara Anderson

Man actualizing self care and manifesting his recovery journey from problem gambling and gambling addiction

Self Care for Problem Gamblers

Apr 26, 2023

Cara Anderson

Bad effects of glamorization of gambling in the media in films, tv shows, and podcasts

Glamorized Gambling and What To Be Aware Of

Apr 24, 2023

Elliott Rapaport

Therapist offering a problem gambler gambling addiction counseling and treatment

What is Problem Gambling?

Apr 20, 2023

Elliott Rapaport