Recognising the Signs of a Gambling Disorder
Gambling is an activity in which people risk money or items of value on events with a degree of chance or randomness. It can be done on a variety of platforms, including cards, scratchcards, lottery games, roulette, online casinos and sports betting. It can also include more serious forms of gambling, such as betting on business or sporting events or speculating on financial markets (including stock markets).
Gambling can be addictive and affect your health and wellbeing. It is important to recognise the signs and get help if you think you or someone you know has a gambling problem.
Trying to win at a game that you don’t understand can lead to frustration and resentment. It is better to stick with games that you are familiar with and have a good understanding of. This will give you a better chance of winning and make the experience more enjoyable for everyone involved.
Many people use gambling as a way to self-soothe unpleasant emotions, distract themselves or socialise. However, it is possible to do these things in healthier ways, such as exercising, spending time with friends who don’t gamble or learning relaxation techniques.
When you gamble, your brain produces dopamine, the feel-good neurotransmitter, which makes you excited and gives you a rush when you win. But, it can also cause you to overestimate the relationship between your actions and uncontrollable events. This is known as the “illusion of control” and can cause you to keep gambling even when it is costing you money.
It is important to only gamble with money that you can afford to lose. Gambling can be addictive and it is easy to spend more than you intend on a single session. It is a good idea to set a budget for gambling each week and stick to it. It is also a good idea to take regular breaks, as this will prevent you from losing focus.
A person with a gambling disorder can have symptoms such as:
In some cases, a person who has a gambling disorder may benefit from psychotherapy or family therapy. This can help them consider how their gambling behaviours have impacted on their relationships and the wider family and how to change these patterns. In addition, there are a number of support groups for families affected by gambling problems, such as Gam-Anon. Medications are not used to treat gambling disorders, but may be helpful in treating co-occurring conditions such as depression or anxiety. If you have a gambling disorder, it is important to seek help from a trained professional as soon as possible. It is recommended that you try to find a local support service or call a national helpline. There are also a number of different self-help books available on the subject. Some of these contain practical advice, while others offer support and a community for those who are struggling with gambling addiction.