19 Nov 2013

Problem gamblers feel ashamed and stupid - researcher

6:13 am on 19 November 2013

New research in Australia has found a fear of stigma is stopping people with a gambling problem from seeking help.

The Australian National University's Centre for Gambling Research has found people with gambling problems try to hide their problem, even from themselves, to avoid feeling ashamed and stupid.

Researchers interviewed more than 100 health and welfare agency personnel, regular poker machine players and people with gambling problems.

Researcher Dr Annie Carroll said people reported feeling more embarrassed about their gambling problem than a substance addiction.

"Many of those people had received help for their drug or alcohol problems but they hadn't told their counsellors about their gambling because they felt so ashamed about it," she said.

"Some of them felt playing poker machines was stupid so having a problem with them was stupid."

Dr Carroll said people with other drug and alcohol problems are given credit by others for trying to overcome their problems.

"Whereas people with gambling problems are seen as having to be very desperate to look for help for gambling problems."