Problems and Symptoms of Gambling
Gambling is an activity where people wager something of value, such as money or possessions, on a random event with the hope of winning something else of value. It is also a popular social activity where people interact and form friendships with other people who share similar interests. People gamble for a variety of reasons, such as a desire to win money or a thrill from taking a risk.
In addition, some people are addicted to gambling and need help with overcoming this addiction. People who are addicted to gambling often experience a number of symptoms and problems, including:
They may be unable to control their spending or stop betting even when they are losing large amounts of money. They may lie to family members, therapists or others to conceal their involvement with gambling. They often borrow or steal money to fund their gambling activities. They often have problems in their relationships, work and social life because of their gambling. They may even be involved in illegal activities such as forgery, fraud, theft and embezzlement to fund their gambling habits. They also may become irritable and angry when they lose, and have difficulty controlling their emotions.
Although many people enjoy gambling and can do it in moderation, it is important to understand the negative impacts of this activity. These impacts can affect a person’s self-esteem, relationships with friends and family, health and well-being and work performance. They can also impact the economy and the community at large. These impacts can be structuralized into three classes: individual, interpersonal and society/community levels.
A major problem associated with gambling is pathological gambling, an impulse-control disorder. In the 1980s, while updating its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the American Psychiatric Association decided that pathological gambling should be included in this class along with other impulse-control disorders such as kleptomania, pyromania and trichotillomania. It remains to be seen if this decision will make an impact on the treatment of this condition.
The most important thing to do is to help your loved one find healthier ways to relieve unpleasant feelings, unwind and socialize. This could mean strengthening your support network, joining a sports team or book club, enrolling in an education course or volunteering for a cause. You can also try peer support groups such as Gamblers Anonymous, which is based on the 12-step recovery model used by Alcoholics Anonymous. It can be helpful to have a sponsor, someone who has experience staying free of gambling addiction and can provide guidance and support. It is crucial to set boundaries in managing finances, and to make sure that your own credit is not at risk by allowing your loved one to use your account. You can also consider talking to a counselor who specializes in gambling addiction. They can teach you coping skills and techniques for dealing with triggers. They can also suggest strategies to prevent relapse, such as making it more difficult to access money or gambling sites by keeping your wallet in a safe place and by limiting your time spent at casinos and online gambling sites.