Are You Living With a Compulsive Gambler?

Gam-Anon, a self-help organization working with the friends and families of Pathological Gamblers, uses a 20-question guide. If you are living with a compulsive gambler, you will answer “YES” to at least six of the following questions:

  1. Do you find yourself constantly bothered by bill collectors?
  2. Is the person in question often away from home for long, unexplained periods of time?
  3. Does this person ever lose time from work because of gambling?
  4. Do you feel this person cannot be trusted with money?
  5. Does the person in question faithfully promise to stop gambling—even beg and plead for another chance—yet gamble again and again?
  6. Does this person ever gamble longer than he or she intended to, until the last dollar is gone?
  7. Does this person immediately return to gambling to try to recover losses or win more?
  8. Does this person ever gamble to get money to solve financial difficulties, or have unrealistic expectations that gambling will bring the family material comfort and wealth?
  9. Does this person borrow money to gamble or pay gambling debts?
  10. Has this person’s reputation ever suffered because of gambling, even to the extent of committing illegal acts to finance gambling?
  11. Have you come to the point of hiding money needed for living expenses, knowing if you did not that you and the rest of the family may go without food or clothing?
  12. Do you search this person’s clothing or go through his or her wallet when the opportunity presents itself, or otherwise check on his or her activities?
  13. Do you hide the gambler’s money?
  14. Have you noticed a personality change in the gambler as his or her gambling progresses?
  15. Does the person consistently lie to cover up gambling activities?
  16. Does this person use guilt induction as a method of shifting responsibility for his or her gambling to you?
  17. Do you anticipate this person’s mood or try to control his or her life, seeking some stability in your own?
  18. Does this person ever suffer from remorse or depression because of gambling—sometimes even to the point of self-destruction?
  19. Has gambling ever threatened to break up the family unit?
  20. Do you feel that your life with the gambler has become a nightmare?