Compulsive Gambling — Where to Get Help

Gambling is fun and entertaining, but only as long as it’s under control. If a harmless hobby turned into a big problem — keep your head up, there is a way out of it.

On this page, I’ve collected all the organizations and resources that might be helpful in a fight with gambling addiction. Don’t hesitate to contact them right away.

STAY IN CONTROL

Gambling addiction can be treated, it’s a fact, but the process might be long and complicated. That’s why it’s much better to keep your finger on the pulse and never let it happen. How? Here are some recommendations.

  • ✔️
    Spend more time with friends and family
  • ✔️
    Make sure gambling is not your prior daily activity
  • ✔️
    Make real money bets only after paying all the bills
  • ✖️
    Do not narrow your social circle to gamblers only
  • ✖️
    Do not make gambling your only source of income
  • ✖️
    Do not borrow money to spend on gambling

Need more information? Find it here.

ProblemGambling. It’s the informational resource created by the Problem Gambling Institute of Ontario aimed at spreading awareness about compulsive gambling and its prevention. Here, you can find a number of articles for problem gamblers and their families and take a self-assessment quiz to define whether you need to be concerned.

Website: problemgambling.ca

TREAT ADDICTION

To deal with a problem, you need to recognize it first. Start with checking this list of gambling addiction signs. Is there something that rings a bell?

  • 1. It’s hard for you to take a break from gambling — you want to bet again and again

  • 2. You conceal your gambling activities

  • 3. All your friends are gamblers

  • 4. You get into debt to keep betting

  • 5. You have conflicts with your family and loved ones because of gambling

  • 6. You spend more money on gambling than you can afford

  • 7. You need to constantly increase the amount you bet to feel the thrill

  • 8. You feel guilt and anxiety caused by gambling

  • 9. Once you lose money, you try to win it back

  • 10. You are not interested in any other activity except gambling

If you feel that some of these signs might be true for you or someone you know, please contact one of the following resources:

National Council on Problem GamblingNational Council on Problem Gambling | NCPG. It’s Canada's main institution dealing with problem gambling prevention and helping those who got affected by it. It provides informational support to promote responsible gambling as well as the 24/7 free helpline you can reach.

Tel: 1-800-522-4700

Website: ncpgambling.org

Chat: Link

Drug Rehab & Detox Program Centers | Canada Drug Rehab Centers. It’s the addiction services directory where you can get professional counselling and help if you are suffering from any kind of addiction, whether it’s compulsive gambling, drug and alcohol addiction, sex and eating disorders, etc.

Tel: 1-877-746-1963

Website: canadadrugrehab.ca

Canada Safety Council – Canada's voice and resource for safety. It’s a charitable organization that promotes safety in every area of life for Canadians.

List of helplines: Here

Website: canadasafetycouncil.org

Gamblers Anonymous. It’s the most well-known international community of compulsive gamblers. Here, people with a gambling addiction can communicate, share their thoughts and feelings, and help each other to recover.

Nearest meeting: Here

Website: gamblersanonymous.org

GamTalk. It’s an online resource aimed at assisting gambling addicts who can’t or don’t want to seek help offline. On GamTalk, you can read the stories of other recovering addicts, find relevant information about gambling addiction treatment and support, and join an online chat.

Chat: Here

Website: gamtalk.org

Gam-Anon. Problem gamblers are not the one who suffer from the addiction, their families need help too. GamAnon is aimed at providing professional assistance and informational support to those whose loved ones got affected by gambling addiction.

Chat: Here

Website: gam-anon.org

Email: gamanonoffice@gam-anon.org

Meetings: Here

STAY ALIVE

In this part, I collected suicide prevention resources for those who might be thinking of crossing the line or their families. If you suspect that someone you know might commit suicide, please, reach one of the organizations below. If you are the one who thinks of ending things — remember, you are not alone, and there is always a way out of the darkness.

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health | CAMH. It is the suicide prevention resource where you can find all the necessary information and support

Tel: 1-833-456-4566

Website: camh.ca

Helplines: Here

Hope for Wellness Chat. It is the mental health online counselling service for everyone in Canada. You can reach it anytime you feel distressed or just want to talk to someone who won’t judge you. Chat is available in English and French.

Website: hopeforwellness.ca

Chat: Link

Canada Suicide Prevention Service | Crisis Services Canada. It is a national network of suicide prevention services. This is where every person in Canada, regardless of nationality, gender, or religion, can get professional counselling absolutely toll free.

Tel: 1-833-456-4566

Website: crisisservicescanada.ca

Chat: Link

Centre for Suicide Prevention. It is another centre for suicide prevention. On its super-convenient website, you can find answers to frequently asked questions, attend short webinars about suicide and suicide prevention, and read topic-related articles. There is no helpline here, but this resource can be helpful for friends and families of those struggling with black thoughts.

Tel: 403-245-3900

Website: suicideinfo.ca

Chat: Link

Youthspace.ca | Emotional Support and Crisis Response. It is a separate crisis and emotional support helpline for children and youth (which is up to 29 years old).

Tel: 778--783--0177

Website: youthspace.ca

Chat: Link

MANAGE YOUR DEBTS

One of the main side effects of gambling addiction, besides mental health problems, is that it quickly leads to financial problems as well. Compulsive gamblers tend to get in debt and borrow more and more money, hoping that they will win everything back, until the moment when the debt burden becomes unbearable. If you feel like you or someone you know might be in such a situation, you can get free counselling here:

Ontario Association of Credit Counselling Services (OACCS). It is the Ontario-based association of financial counsellors and coaches aimed at promoting financial literacy and providing financial counselling to those in need.

Tel: 905-945-5644

Website: financialfitness.ca

Email: info@financialfitness.ca

STOP GAMBLING

If you can’t control your gambling activities, there is one radical way out of the situation, and it’s called self-exclusion. In this case, you’ll be banned from all the online and offline casinos and just won’t let in if you can’t resist temptation yourself. If you think you might need a break from gambling, you can learn how to start the self-exclusion process here.

Responsible Gambling Council. It is a credible resource for information about gambling addiction and help to those fighting it. It’s dedicated to reducing global risks of problem gambling and promoting awareness and education.

Website: responsiblegambling.org

Gambling Addiction Myths

Gambling addiction, like any other mental condition, is surrounded by myths and fears. It makes it harder to detect and treat as people struggling with it can’t acknowledge the problem and seek help. Here are the five most popular myths about compulsive gambling, and the truth hiding behind them.

🔔 Myth. “I can’t be a problem gambler if I don’t bet every day. ”

Truth: Actually, it’s not about how often you make bets but more about the consequences it drags. If you are betting once a week, but it leads to stress, guilt, and financial problems — you are a problem gambler.

🔔 Myth. “I’m not the one to blame for it, it’s my family/wife/friends, etc.

Truth: Blaming others is a typical sign of any kind of addiction. It’s better if you take responsibility for your actions and seek help instead of ruining relationships with people you love.

🔔 Myth. “I have enough money, so gambling is not a problem.

Truth: Financial problems are not the only ones caused by problem gambling. You might be safe from getting in debt, but you are not protected from depression, anxiety, and social isolation.

🔔 Myth. “I’ve lost a lot of money, but I can win all of it back

Truth: This is exactly the thought that brings compulsive gamblers to the very bottom of the addiction. In reality, your chances of winning and losing are pretty much the same at every point.

🔔 Myth. “If I or someone I know were problem gamblers, I’d know.

Truth: Problem gamblers don’t look like problem gamblers. They look like ordinary people, and you might never know that they are actually having hard times struggling with the addiction.

It’s time to get help!

Gambling addiction might be hard to detect and treat, but the sooner you seek help, the easier it would be to fight it. If you suspect that someone you know might be a problem gambler — pick one of the organizations from the list right now and start fighting the addiction before it has done serious damage,

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