Purpose of Gamblers Anonymous 20 Questions

Gamblers Anonymous (GA) is a self-help organization aimed at helping individuals with gambling problems regain control over their lives. GA supports compulsive gamblers, friends, and families through regular meetings, resources, and a strong sense of community. The starting point at GA is the Gamblers Anonymous 20 Questions – We’ll examine them closer in this article.

GA 20 questions

This article is part of our closer examination of Gamblers Anonymous. We believe GA is doing a terrific job, and if you’re a GA person, we couldn’t be happier for you. It means you’ve found something that has answered the question how to stop gambling for you. But, if you’re looking for an alternative to GA, we recommend you check out QuitGamble.com – An online platform and social network for problem gamblers.

Let’s get started with GA-20 Questions. Here are 20 questions GA uses to determine if newcomers have gambling problems.

  1. Have you ever missed work or school due to gambling?
  2. Has gambling ever caused problems in your home life?
  3. Has gambling affected your reputation?
  4. Have you ever felt regretful after gambling?
  5. Have you ever gambled to pay off debts or solve financial problems?
  6. Has gambling caused a decrease in your ambition or efficiency?
  7. After losing, did you feel the need to return and win back your losses immediately?
  8. After winning, did you feel a strong urge to continue gambling and win more?
  9. Do you often gamble until you have no more money left?
  10. Have you ever borrowed money to finance your gambling?
  11. Have you ever sold anything to finance your gambling?
  12. Are you hesitant to use your gambling money for normal expenses?
  13. Has gambling caused you to be careless about your well-being or that of your family?
  14. Have you ever gambled for longer than you intended?
  15. Have you gambled to escape worry, boredom, loneliness, grief, or loss?
  16. Have you ever considered or committed an illegal act to finance your gambling?
  17. Has gambling caused you to have trouble sleeping?
  18. Do arguments, disappointments, or frustrations make you want to gamble?
  19. Have you ever felt the urge to celebrate good fortune by gambling?
  20. Have you ever considered self-harm or suicide due to your gambling?

Source: Gamblers Anonymous website

Now you have the list, let’s see what it means and how you can use it to determine if you have a gambling problem. If you want to know more about your gambling, we recommend you take our gambling addiction test: The Happiness Test.

Importance of the 20 questions in self-assessment

The Gamblers Anonymous 20 Questions are a self-assessment tool for individuals struggling with gambling. The questions help individuals identify the extent of their gambling problem and determine whether they could benefit from the support Gamblers Anonymous provides. By answering the 20 questions, individuals gain a better understanding of their gambling behavior, allowing them to recognize the negative impact it has on their lives and make an informed decision about seeking help.

The primary purpose of the Gamblers Anonymous 20 Questions is to help individuals recognize the symptoms of compulsive gambling and understand the consequences of their actions. These questions cover various aspects of a person’s gambling behavior, such as the financial difficulties it may cause, the impact on their home life and relationships, and the potential for engaging in illegal acts to finance their gambling. Addressing these issues, the 20 questions aim to raise awareness about the adverse effects of gambling and encourage individuals to take the first step toward recovery.

The 20 questions are a comprehensive checklist covering various facets of problem gambling. By answering these questions honestly, individuals can gain insights into their gambling habits, such as the urge to gamble longer, the need to escape worries, and the tendency to gamble in response to disappointments or frustrations. The questions also address the consequences of problem gambling, including the impact on a person’s reputation and ambition and the possible loss of valuable time.

Furthermore, the Gamblers Anonymous 20 Questions helps individuals recognize the emotional and psychological aspects of their gambling problem, such as feelings of remorse after gambling or the sensation of seeking a thrill through gambling activities. By shedding light on these issues, the questions enable individuals to confront their gambling behavior and identify areas where they may need assistance, ultimately guiding them toward seeking help from GA and its supportive community.

Breaking Down the 20 Questions

Gamblers Anonymous 20 Questions explore the personal impact of compulsive gambling, including financial, emotional, and social consequences. They also address gambling behaviors such as frequency and duration, chasing losses, and borrowing money to finance gambling. The questions highlight the importance of recognizing and addressing legal issues, work or school performance, and feelings of remorse and guilt associated with problem gambling. By examining these aspects, individuals can better comprehend the severity of their addiction and the need for intervention to overcome it.

The personal impact of gambling

The Gamblers Anonymous 20 Questions address various aspects of the personal impact of gambling, highlighting how compulsive gambling can affect individuals’ lives:

  • Financial consequences – The questions examine the potential economic effects of compulsive gambling, such as using gambling for regular expenditures, borrowing money to finance gambling, and selling possessions to support the habit. By understanding the financial toll of gambling, individuals can better comprehend the severity of their addiction and the need for intervention.
  • Emotional and mental health – The 20 questions delve into the emotional and mental health implications of compulsive gambling, exploring feelings of stress, worry, and anxiety often accompanying gambling problems and the escape mechanisms individuals use to cope with these emotions. Examining the impact of gambling on mental health, the questions help individuals recognize the self-destructive nature of their addiction and the importance of seeking help.
  • Relationships and social life – The questions address the toll compulsive gambling can take on relationships and social life by exploring issues such as the impact of gambling on home life, the potential for arguments and disappointments, and the effect of gambling on one’s reputation. By examining the consequences of gambling on personal relationships, individuals can gain a deeper understanding of the damage caused by their addiction and the need for support quit gambling and rebuild their lives.

Gambling behaviors and habits

The Gamblers Anonymous 20 questions also address gambling behaviors and habits commonly associated with addiction. These aspects include:

  • Frequency and duration – The questions examine the tendency of individuals to gamble for longer periods, lose track of time, and continue gambling despite negative consequences. By analyzing these patterns, individuals can better understand the compulsive nature of their gambling and recognize the need for change.
  • Chasing losses – A typical behavior among problem gamblers is chasing losses. The 20 questions address this behavior by inquiring about the strong urge to regain losses, often leading to increased gambling, escalating losses, and mounting financial difficulties. By identifying this pattern, individuals can acknowledge the futility of chasing losses and the importance of seeking help to break the cycle.
  • Borrowing money to finance gambling – The questions explore instances where compulsive gamblers resort to borrowing money, using credit, or even committing illegal acts to obtain gambling funds. Recognizing these behaviors helps individuals confront their addiction’s financial risks and potential legal consequences and highlights the need for intervention.

Consequences and repercussions

In Gamblers Anonymous, 20 questions, consequences, and repercussions of gambling addiction are under the microscope. The questions and answers emphasize the importance of recognizing and addressing these issues. The questions delve into various aspects of a compulsive gambler’s life, including:

  • Legal issues – The questions highlight potential legal problems that may arise from compulsive gambling, such as committing illegal acts to finance gambling or facing financial difficulties due to gambling debts. Recognizing these legal ramifications underlines the importance of seeking help to avoid further consequences and regain control over one’s life.
  • Work or school performance -The impact of gambling addiction on professional and academic pursuits is explored through questions about missed days or poor performance due to gambling. By examining this aspect, the compulsive gambler can better understand the far-reaching consequences of their pathological gambling and the need for support in overcoming it.
  • Remorse and guilt – The 20 questions address the feelings of remorse and guilt often associated with problem gambling by asking about instances of regret following gambling sessions. Acknowledging these emotions allows individuals to recognize the negative impact of their gambling behavior on their emotional well-being and the importance of seeking help to overcome their addiction.

Interpreting the Results

Once you have answered the Gamblers Anonymous 20 questions, it’s essential to understand your answers to assess your gambling situation accurately. Each “yes” answer indicates a potential problem with your gambling habits. While the number of “yes” responses can provide insight into the severity of your gambling issue, it’s crucial to remember that even a single affirmative response may indicate a gambling problem that warrants further evaluation.

The number of affirmative answers to the Gamblers Anonymous questions can help you gauge the severity of your gambling problem. A higher number of “yes” answers typically suggests a more severe issue that requires immediate attention. However, the specific nature and extent of your gambling problem should be considered in conjunction with the details of your situation, such as financial consequences, emotional distress, and the impact on your relationships.

If your answers to the 20 questions indicate a potential gambling problem, seeking help from Gamblers Anonymous as soon as possible is helpful. The sooner you acknowledge and address your gambling issue, the better your chances of a successful recovery. Gamblers Anonymous offers a supportive environment where you can share your experiences, learn from others, and gain the tools necessary to overcome your addiction. Attending a meeting allows you to embark on your journey towards a healthier, happier life free from the destructive cycle of compulsive gambling.


What’s the difference between Gamblers Anonymous 20 Questions and DSM 5 Gambling Disorder?

While the Gamblers Anonymous questions and the DSM-5 are used to identify gambling problems, they differ. The Gamblers Anonymous questions are more focused on the individual’s personal experiences and behaviors related to gambling, while the DSM-5 criteria are more comprehensive and based on clinical research.

For example, some of the questions from Gamblers Anonymous include:

Have you gambled to escape worries, troubles, boredom, loneliness, grief, or loss?

Did gambling cause you to have difficulty sleeping? Have you ever considered self-destruction or suicide as a result of your gambling?

In comparison, the DSM-5 criteria for gambling disorder include:

  • Preoccupation with gambling
  • Needing to gamble with increasing amounts of money to achieve the desired excitement
  • Repeated unsuccessful efforts to cut back or stop gambling
  • Restlessness or irritability when attempting to cut back or stop gambling
  • Gambling as a way to escape problems or negative feelings
  • Lying to conceal the extent of gambling
  • Jeopardizing or losing significant relationships, jobs, or opportunities due to gambling
  • Relying on others to provide money to relieve financial problems caused by gambling

While there is some overlap between the two, the DSM-5 criteria for gambling disorder provide a more comprehensive and clinically-based approach to diagnosing gambling addiction.

Gamblers Anonymous members are part of a support group with a list of 20 questions to help determine if someone has a gambling addiction. The DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition) is a diagnostic tool mental health professionals use to diagnose various mental health disorders, including gambling disorders.

How does answering the 20 Questions during your first GA meetings feel?

One Gamblers Anonymous member described feeling anxious and vulnerable while answering the 20 questions during their first Gamblers Anonymous meeting. She also explained that her mind was racing and entirely out of control. Answering the questions made her realize the severity of her addiction and the pain it had caused herself and others. She felt humbled by the experience and recognized that everyone in the room had a similar addiction. They also mentioned that answering the questions brought a sense of community as others in the room nodded in agreement to similar experiences.


In summary, the Gamblers Anonymous 20 questions are a vital tool for self-assessment, helping individuals recognize potential gambling problems affecting their lives negatively. By answering these questions honestly, individuals can better understand the extent of their gambling habits and the consequences they face. If the responses suggest a gambling problem, seeking help from Gamblers Anonymous is crucial for recovery. The support and resources provided by this organization can be instrumental in overcoming compulsive gambling, ultimately leading to a healthier, happier, and more fulfilling life. Don’t hesitate to ask for help if you or someone you know is struggling with a gambling addiction. Recovery is possible, and it starts with taking the first step.

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