Recognising Gambling Disorders


People gamble for a variety of reasons: the thrill of winning money, socialising with friends or as an escape from worries or stress. However, gambling can become unhealthy and lead to financial problems if not managed responsibly. If you’re concerned about your gambling habits, it’s worth seeking help and advice. There are many support groups available, and a number of states offer services to help people with gambling disorders.

There are also a number of self-help tips and online resources to help people manage their gambling. These include establishing healthy bankrolls, setting money and time limits, and avoiding chasing losses. It’s also important to avoid gambling with money you need for other purposes, such as paying bills or rent.

Gambling involves placing something of value on a random event with the intention of winning something else of value. This is a common activity across cultures and throughout history, with evidence of games of chance being found as early as 2,300 B.C. The most well-known form of gambling is the lottery, which accounts for nearly half of all legal wagers worldwide. Other popular forms of gambling include sports betting, horse racing and casinos.

Many people experience difficulty identifying when their gambling is problematic, and may downplay or even deny the problem. This can lead to a vicious cycle, as the person continues to engage in gambling behaviors in spite of mounting losses. It can also impact their relationships, work and education. In severe cases, it can lead to depression and thoughts of suicide.

People with gambling disorders can be hard to identify, but some warning signs to look out for include:

Trying to recover from gambling isn’t always easy. It’s often best to seek help from a professional, such as a psychiatrist or psychologist, who can assess the situation and recommend treatment options. Many of these treatments involve cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), which looks at how a person thinks about gambling and how they react to it.

In addition to individual psychological treatments, some people with gambling disorders benefit from group therapy. This type of treatment can help people to learn from the experiences of others and may encourage them to change their negative behaviours. It’s also worth contacting the National Gambling Helpline to find out more about free counselling and other support services in your area.

There’s no doubt that gambling is a fun and exciting pastime for millions of people, but it’s important to remember that the odds of winning are pretty low. People who bet more than they can afford to lose risk losing more than just their money – they could also end up damaging their relationships, finances and health. It’s also worth remembering that gambling isn’t a way to make money, and only ever gamble with disposable income. For further information and advice, visit our guide to managing your gambling.