Gambling is the act of placing a bet on an event with the hope of winning something of value. This is usually done by betting on a sporting event, but can also be on lottery tickets or in gambling houses and casinos.
People gamble for many reasons: some to win money, others to socialise, and still others to relax and relieve stress. But for some, gambling can become a serious problem. If you or someone in your family has a gambling disorder, it is important to seek help.
Identifying Gambling Disorder
Problem gambling is a serious mental health condition that can affect an individual, their family and society. It is a form of addiction and can be treated with therapy. There are several types of treatment, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), psychodynamic therapy and group therapy.
Addiction to gambling is a long-term and difficult disorder that can lead to serious problems in an individual’s life. It can result in a loss of money and relationships, and can be dangerous for an individual’s health and safety.
Symptoms of gambling disorder vary widely and can be mild or severe. Symptoms can appear as early as adolescence and can persist into adulthood, particularly in women. Risk factors, such as trauma or social inequality, can increase the likelihood of developing a gambling disorder.
Be aware of the ‘gambler’s fallacy’: This is when a person who has lost money continues to place bets, even though they haven’t won any more. The temptation to try to regain losses is a major source of relapse in problem gambling.
Set boundaries and limits for yourself before you go onto the casino floor, or to a game of chance. Make a budget and stick to it. This will help prevent you from overspending and from relapsing.
Avoid temptation, including online casinos and bookmakers that operate 24 hours a day. It is easy to get lured into these places and can be a very tempting way to lose control of your finances.
Remember that the odds of winning are very small and you will almost always lose. If you feel like your gambling is no longer fun, or if you are having a hard time controlling it, ask yourself why you are continuing to do it.
Take responsibility for your family’s finances
If you suspect that a loved one has a gambling disorder, talk to them about it. You might be able to assist them in getting treatment and help them stay on track. You might also want to set some financial boundaries, or even take over the family’s finances if the problem gambler is not in a position to do so on their own.
Gambling disorder can have a negative impact on your family, so it is important to support them as they work through their gambling. It may help to reach out for support and find a group that is supportive of your family member’s gambling disorder.