Dealing With Gambling Disorders


Gambling is a fun and social activity that many people engage in, but it can also be a dangerous habit. For some, gambling can become compulsive and lead to financial and personal issues. It can also affect mental health, with research showing a link between gambling and suicidal thoughts. If you feel like you are gambling out of control, there are ways to get help and support.

There are a number of factors that contribute to gambling problems, including depression, anxiety and stress. People who have these conditions are more likely to gamble for coping reasons, such as to distract themselves or escape their worries. There is also a risk of gambling being used as a way to cover up underlying problems, for example, debt. If you think you are in this position, contact StepChange for free debt advice.

Gambling can take many forms, from buying a lottery ticket or bet on a horse race to playing the pokies or online poker. People gamble for a variety of reasons, including the excitement and adrenaline rush, the desire to win money and socialising with friends. For some people, gambling becomes a problem when they lose control and start betting more than they can afford to lose, taking out loans or credit cards to fund their gambling and hiding their spending from family members and therapists.

The most important step in dealing with a loved one’s gambling problem is to recognise it. This can be difficult, especially if they have lost a lot of money or damaged relationships as a result of their addiction. But remember, they didn’t choose to gamble and they may not realise how it has affected their lives.

Those who are struggling with gambling should seek treatment from a professional, as it can be complicated to break the habit. Treatment involves a range of therapies, and there are a number of options to choose from. For example, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) helps change the thoughts that cause problem gambling and teaches a new coping mechanism. Other treatments include pharmacotherapy and group CBT, which can reduce the likelihood of relapse.

A gambling disorder is an impulse-control problem that affects a person’s ability to make healthy decisions. It is often accompanied by distressing symptoms, such as depressed mood, irritability and anxiety, and can have serious financial consequences. It is a complex problem to treat, and integrated approaches have had limited success. This is due to differences in underlying assumptions about the etiology of the problem, as well as the different interventions involved.

There are a number of things that can be done to reduce the risk of gambling becoming a problem, such as setting money and time limits for yourself, not using your credit card, not carrying large amounts of cash and finding other recreational activities to fill the gap that gambling leaves. It’s also a good idea to talk about your gambling with someone you trust who won’t judge you.