Warning signs that you have a gambling addiction

Stellenbosch Unversity psychiatry department is conducting a study which looks into the problem of gambling. The study examines links to genetics as well as brain imaging.

Natascha Horak, Psychologist and Researcher at the Medical Research Council’s Unit on Anxiety & Stress Disorders at Stellenbosch Unversity, speaks to Pippa Hudson about what this new study entails.

According to Horak, about 50% of South Africans gamble and most of them do it as a harmless recreational activity.

She says about 4-7% develop a gambling problem and 1% develop a gambling disorder.

Problem gambling involves preoccupation with gambling and having continuous thoughts about gambling. But there are other criteria that have to do with poor impulse control

Natascha Horak, Psychologist and Researcher

Gambling disorder is associated with preoccupation with gambling, spending moew time and/or money on gambling than you planned to, and poor impulse control

Natascha Horak, Psychologist and Researcher

Gambling addiction is defined as a behavioural addiction, rather than a dependency on substances like alcohol or drugs. But, there are increasing similarities between behavioural addictions such as gambling and substance related addictions, says Horak.

Major signs to look out for to see if you having gambling addiction:

  • Are you able to put a limit on time and money spent on gambling, and can you stick to it?
  • What is your level of preoccupation with gambling?

Listen to the full conversation below:


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