Dealing With Gambling Disorders

Gambling involves risking money or something of value in an attempt to win more than you invested. It is an addictive activity that can cause serious mental health problems if not controlled. If you have a gambling problem, it is important to seek treatment and self-help tips to get back on track.

People gamble for many reasons: to socialise, get an adrenaline rush or escape from worries or stress. But it’s important to remember that the chances of winning are based on chance and luck, not skill. If you’re tempted to gamble, it’s best to stick to games that you understand, such as slots and roulette.

In addition, it’s essential to manage your bankroll carefully. Only gamble with money you can afford to lose and never spend more than your entertainment budget. It’s also a good idea to set time and money limits for yourself when gambling online. This will help you avoid spending more than you can afford to lose and will keep you from getting addicted to gambling.

While there are no medications to treat gambling disorder, several types of psychotherapy can help. These include psychodynamic therapy, which focuses on how unconscious processes affect your behavior. Another type is group therapy, which can help you find motivation and moral support from others with the same condition. Psychotherapy can also help you address issues that may be causing you to gamble, such as depression or anxiety.

Some people with gambling disorders have difficulty realising that their behaviour is harmful to themselves and their families. As a result, they may try to hide their gambling activities or lie about how much money they’re spending. They might also attempt to recoup their losses by borrowing money, even if this causes them further financial difficulties. People with a mental health condition are more likely to gamble, and gambling can worsen symptoms of depression and anxiety.

It’s important to recognise the signs of a gambling problem and to seek help when necessary. If you’re gambling more than you can afford to lose, or you’re using debt to fund your gambling, it’s a sign that you need to take action. You should also consider talking to a family member, friend or professional counsellor if you’re struggling. If you’re in financial crisis, StepChange can offer free and confidential advice.

Research into the impact of gambling has largely ignored social impacts, choosing to measure only monetary costs and benefits that are easily quantifiable. However, social impacts can be as damaging as a gambling addiction and should be taken seriously. Some of these impacts are invisible to the individual, while others can turn into visible costs at society/community level, for example, the cost of family members seeking help or treatment for a problem gambler. This is known as a societal burden. Socioeconomic impact assessment aims to capture the full range of societal costs and benefits associated with gambling, including a monetary value for intangible harms.