How to Deal With Gambling Addictions


Gambling involves risking something of value on an event that is determined at least in part by chance, in the hope of winning. For some people, gambling can be enjoyable, but for others it can have serious consequences that harm their health, relationships and career, lead to debt or even homelessness. Gambling is a problem for people of all ages, from young children to older adults. It can also affect family members and friends. The best way to address a gambling addiction is to seek professional help.

The term disordered gambling is used to describe a range of gambling behavior from those behaviors that are at risk for developing more serious problems (subclinical) to those behaviors that meet Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) criteria for pathological gambling (PG). Research has shown that individuals with a history of PG have underlying vulnerabilities. These include impulsivity and difficulty in regulating rewards and emotions. Additionally, a person’s environment can influence their ability to recognize a problem and seek help.

Some factors that can contribute to a person’s vulnerability to gambling are genetic, environmental and cultural. For example, genetics may determine a person’s susceptibility to reward-seeking behaviours and impulsivity. Environmental factors can include the presence of a supportive family and the availability of treatment programs. Culture can also play a role in an individual’s views on gambling and what constitutes a problem.

People often engage in gambling because it gives them a temporary feeling of enjoyment and excitement. However, this is often short-lived and is followed by a period of depression and guilt. People may also engage in gambling because they feel a sense of obligation, such as the need to pay back money owed to friends or family members. In addition, some people are influenced by a belief that gambling is a social activity and that the more they gamble, the more they will win.

Often, the desire to gamble can be difficult to control because it is a recurrent and compulsive behaviour. In order to manage a gambling problem, it is important to identify the causes of the problem and implement behavioural changes. This can be done through a combination of strategies such as setting financial limits, reducing the amount of time spent gambling and establishing alternative hobbies or recreational activities.

Gambling is not a reliable source of income and it is important to remember that you are always likely to lose some money. Keeping this in mind will prevent you from gambling with more than you can afford to lose. Whether you are buying a lottery ticket, playing video poker or using the pokies, it is important to set a limit and stick to it. Do not use credit cards or loans to fund gambling and try to avoid chasing lost money, as this will only increase your losses. Instead, treat gambling as an expense, and try to balance it with other leisure activities.