Know The Signs

Is your gambling starting to uncover mixed feelings? If your gambling has gone from a fun night out to something that makes you feel anxious or just not quite right, it might be time to step back and take a break. Mixed feelings like frustration and anxiety can be early identifiers of exceeding your limits.

These feelings are there for a reason. Ignoring them will only make it worse, impacting not just you, but your family and friends. That’s why it’s important to pay attention to how your gambling makes you feel and know the signs—before it becomes a problem.

Mixed feelings about your gambling

Many people think it’s just a matter of time until they’ll hit the jackpot. Unfortunately, some will gamble to the point that their relationships, finances, and health are negatively affected.

But there are early warning signs:

  • Feeling guilty, anxious, frustrated or worried about your gambling
  • Thinking or talking more than usual about gambling
  • Gambling more in order to win back losses
  • Thinking that you “just need to have a big win”
  • Experiencing extreme highs from gambling wins and extreme lows from gambling losses
  • Getting irritated more easily or having less patience when dealing with normal, everyday activities

The good news is that recognizing your mixed feelings is the first step to making a change.

What Can You Do?

The first step is recognizing that your feelings have changed. If mixed feelings arise, it means that it’s time to take a break from gambling. Walk away. Talk to someone. You can take action before important areas of your life are negatively impacted.

Do something else
Get back to the activities that you enjoy. Take up a new hobby or spend more time with family and friends.

Do not gamble more than you can afford to lose
Be honest with yourself. What are the limits you can live with? How much can you lose so you can wake up tomorrow feeling as good as the day before? Set a loss amount that you wouldn’t feel bad about losing in a session. When you hit your limit, walk away.

Never chase losses
If you lose money, never try to get it back by going over your limit. This usually leads to even bigger losses.

Set a time limit
Decide how much time you can afford to spend gambling. When you reach the time limit you’ve set for yourself, stop gambling. No excuses.

Always keep in mind that gambling is not a way to make money
The bottom line is that gambling establishments like land-based casinos and online gambling sites are set up to take in more money than they pay out. This means that, over time, you will lose more money than you win. Virtually all people with gambling problems hold the false belief that they’re the ones due for a big win. That belief feeds the development of problems.

If you are concerned about your gambling, or the gambling of someone you care about, there is free and confidential help available to you.


For more information, download these printable quick guides to safer gambling for adults, older adults, and parents of teenagers, available in 17 languages.