07/10/2012 02:10 EDT | Updated 09/09/2012 05:12 EDT

Watching the warning signs: How to determine when gambling becomes a problem

What is problem gambling?

Gambling becomes a problem when the individual continues to play excessively despite experiencing negative consequences. Preoccupation and loss of control over gambling behaviour are signs of problem gambling.

Loss of control may be expressed by:

— Spending more money than intended

— Playing for longer than planned

— Wanting to gamble when knowing one should be doing other things

— Not being able to stop thinking about gambling

Warning signs:

—Unexplained absences from school/work

— Dropping grades, declining interest and performance in schoolwork

— Lying

— Borrowing/stealing money

— Preoccupation with gambling activities

— Displaying large amount of money or other unaccountable material possessions

— Changes in personality

— Mood swings

— Anxious, stressed

Source: International Centre for Youth Gambling Problems and High-Risk Behaviors at McGill University