Gambling Addiction – How to Recognise and Overcome a Gambling Problem

Gambling involves placing something of value, usually money, at risk for the chance to win a prize. This can be done in a number of ways including lottery tickets, casino games, bingo, dice, cards, slots, machines and scratchcards. It can also be conducted with items that have value but are not money, such as marbles or collectable trading card pieces (Magic: The Gathering). Gambling is an important source of income for many governments.

Problem gambling is a serious issue that can cause financial problems, health problems and strained relationships. It is a complex disorder that can be caused by genetic and environmental factors. Some people can develop a gambling addiction even if they never lose large amounts of money.

Often, when people are new to gambling they will experience an early big win. This can trigger a reward system response in the brain and lead to an increased likelihood of engaging in further gambling behaviour. There are a number of other factors that can contribute to someone developing a gambling addiction, including boredom susceptibility, impulsivity and a poor understanding of random events. Some people may also use gambling as an escape from boredom or stress. Depending on the individual, these factors may be more or less prevalent in their lives.

In addition to these personal factors, some individuals have cultural influences that can make it harder to recognise a problem. This is particularly true if the culture is one that values gambling, for example. This can result in the gambler being unable to distinguish between normal and harmful behaviour, and this can make it difficult to seek help.

The first step in tackling a gambling problem is realising that there is a problem. This can be hard, especially when a person has lost a lot of money and has strained or broken relationships as a result. For this reason, it is often best to seek help from a therapist. BetterHelp is an online service that can match you with a licensed and accredited therapist who specialises in depression, anxiety, relationships and gambling. They can support you to overcome your gambling addiction and rebuild your life. To get started, simply take the assessment and get matched in as little as 48 hours. You can then book a session with your therapist. It’s completely free and confidential. Click here to take the assessment now.