Gambling is an activity that involves the risk of a financial loss. It can take place in casinos, lotteries, and other social settings, or on the Internet. In some countries, gambling is legal, while in others it is not. Regardless of where it is legal to gamble, it is important to understand that gambling is not a reliable way to make money. Those who suffer from a gambling disorder may experience problems with their relationships, finances, work, and school performance. They may also develop depression and anxiety, as well as suicidal thoughts. In severe cases, gambling can lead to addiction.
Problem gambling can be hard to recognise and even harder to admit. People may try to hide their problem or lie about how much they’re spending. They may also begin to hide other behaviors that are affecting their life, such as lying to friends and family or stealing money to pay for gambling activities.
Despite the stigma associated with the term “problem gambling,” the disorder is real and needs to be taken seriously. It can be very difficult to overcome and requires the help of loved ones and professionals. Inpatient and residential treatment and rehab programs are available for those who cannot control their urges and need round-the-clock support to stay in recovery.
Gambling is often seen as a harmless pastime that can provide a rush of excitement and euphoria, similar to the feelings one gets from a good meal or a good movie. However, the truth is that gambling is a dangerous activity that can cause serious harm. It is a risky and addictive activity that can result in debt, homelessness, and even suicide.
A person is considered to have a gambling disorder if they:
1. Have an intense desire to gamble, despite having significant negative consequences as described above;
2. Are preoccupied with gambling, exhibiting ritualistic behavior such as obsessive thinking, avoiding other activities, or spending excessive time on gambling;
3. Have a continuing pattern of losing control over their gambling, resulting in a deterioration of personal relationships, work, education, or career;
4. Lie to family members or therapists to conceal the extent of their involvement in gambling;
5. Commit illegal acts (forgery, fraud, theft, embezzlement, etc.) to fund gambling activities;
It can be very challenging to cope with a loved one who has a gambling disorder. It is common for a person to rationalize their requests and tell themselves that this is just one more last chance, but it’s important to seek out help if you notice any of the signs listed above. Seek support from other families that have been affected by gambling disorders, attend a self-help group for gamblers, or receive professional counseling. This will allow you to address the specific issues created by a loved one’s gambling habit and lay the foundation for healthier relationships, finances, and credit.