Just like other forms of addiction, a gambling problem affects our mental wellbeing and mental health.
Gambling has become a recreational activity for many people in the community.
Every year in Singapore, more people are gambling on lottery tickets, horse racing, sports events, electronic gaming machines and online gambling.
While many gamble as a social pastime, some develop a gambling problem, just like alcohol or drugs. The “high” of winning or a temporary escapism from emotional problems, worries and frustrations are some of the reasons why people get readily hooked on gambling.
Gambling addiction, also known as pathological gambling, is a disease similar to alcohol or drug addiction. However, it is a hidden disease with no physical symptoms and can cause financial ruin as well as personal and family devastation.
Pathological gamblers often have difficulty controlling their gambling behaviour. As it progresses, they increasingly spend more of their waking time thinking about gambling, which affects mental wellness; at the same time the frequency and amount of money spent intensifies.
They often gamble longer than intended and may gamble till the last dollar is gone. Not only earnings are used to gamble, but savings are also spent, and bills go unpaid. They may also borrow money to finance their gambling habit, occasionally from loan-sharks. In some instances, they may even steal or commit other illegal acts for that purpose.
The loss of control shows in the continuation of the gambling behaviour despite serious negative consequences (mounting debts, family problems and poor job performance).
You know someone close to you has a gambling problem when:
1. Addiction Medicine Clinic, Changi General Hospital(For treatment of alcohol, benzodiazepine and gambling addiction only)2 Simei Street 3Singapore 529889Consultation by appointment only. Please call: 6850 3333.
2. National Addictions Management Service (NAMS),Institute of Mental HealthBuangkok Green Medical Park10 Buangkok ViewSingapore 539747Consultation by appointment only. Please call: 6389 2200
3. Gambling Helpline:1800-6-668 668
4. Recovery Support Group MeetingsWE CARE Community Services11 Kampong BugisSingapore 338988For enquiries, please call: +65 6471 5346
Download “When Gambling Becomes An Illness” (PDF)
This article was last reviewed on
22 Nov 2023
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