In November every year, Australia is transfixed on a horse race in Melbourne. While it might not stop the nation, it certainly stops the city, with a public holiday for Melbourne Cup.

Traditionally, office sweeps take place in many workplaces. With the advent of mobile technology, placing a bet is just a few clicks away. Any search of google reveal extensive advertising encouraging people to ‘bet on the Melbourne Cup’.

Over 80% of Australian adults engage in gambling of some kind, which is the highest rate of gambling in the world[i].

So how do you know if you are a social gambler, with your gambling playing a small part of an overall enjoyable day, or if you have a gambling problem?

Sports betting in Australia is increasing dramatically, with the Victorian government reporting 2016 statistics that show sports betting grew from $626 million to $815 million (a 30.1 per cent increase)[ii].

What’s the difference between a harmless flutter on the horses and a compulsive activity that eats away at families and individuals?

How can you tell if you are a social gambler or whether you have a gambling problem?

Some reports indicate that between 80,000 and 160,000 adults in Australia experience significant gambling problems[iii].

Compulsive gambling, like many other addictive behaviours, has many contributing factors and many can be underlying. For instance, contributing factors can be undiagnosed high functioning depression or unresolved grief, and suppressed cellular activity that drive risk-taking behaviour. That’s why trying to solve gambling addiction by focusing on symptoms alone is rarely helpful and treatment should instead try to identify the various causes that are contributing to complex behavioural experiences. Advanced analysis is important, as well as advanced therapeutic treatments such as those employed as part of the Wellness and Recovery programs at The Banyans.

How can you identify whether you are a social gambler or have a gambling problem or addiction?

If some or all of the following signs are present in relation to your gambling, it’s important that you take positive steps to address your behaviour, and to identify underlying drivers that cause this.

  • Arguments with friends or family about how much you are gambling
  • Neglecting work, family or other commitments to spend time gambling
  • Borrowing money or using multiple credit cards to fund your gambling
  • Always thinking about gambling, to the detriment of your responsibilities
  • Trying to chase losses or turning to gambling to solve financial problems
  • Constant or growing regret at your gambling activities but feeling like you are unable to change
  • Lying about how much or how often you are gambling
  • Hiding your gambling from people who care about you
  • Feeling depressed, anxious, irritable or unable to sleep
  • Betting higher and higher amounts of money in order to chase the feeling of excitement

If you or a loved one identify these indicators, don’t delay in reaching out for support.

For twelve-step group programs, contact Gamblers Anonymous –  http://gaaustralia.org.au

For confidential, individual therapy programs, contact The Banyans Health and Wellness on 1300 226 926 or email wellness@thebanyans.com.au for a confidential conversation about our integrated programs.

In Australia’s premier dedicated facility, we offer advanced international testing and therapeutic techniques at the forefront of global best practice.

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[i] http://www.problemgambling.net.au/ausgambling.html

[ii] http://www.responsiblegambling.vic.gov.au/information-and-resources/whats-new/latest-edition-of-the-australian-gambling-statistics

[iii] http://www.problemgambling.net.au/ausgambling.html