How to Recognise and Overcome Gambling Disorders


Gambling involves risking something of value on the outcome of an event that is based primarily on chance. People gamble for many reasons, including the excitement of winning money, socialising with friends and escaping worries or stress. But for some, gambling can become a serious problem. If you find yourself betting more than you can afford to lose, lying about how much you’re spending or relying on credit or family members for money, it may be time to seek help.

Gambling has both positive and negative impacts on an individual’s mental health. Psychologically, gambling can lead to addiction and increase feelings of guilt, anxiety and depression. It can also cause problems with relationships and work. People with untreated gambling disorder are more likely to have suicidal thoughts or attempts, and they’re more at risk for having other mental health problems.

It can be hard to recognise when gambling is a problem. Some people will downplay the issue and try to deny that they have a problem. Others will start to hide their gambling habits or lie to family and friends. Others will even resort to criminal activity to fund their gambling habits. This can have devastating effects on families and communities.

Psychiatrists treat people with gambling disorders with various types of therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) aims to change harmful thoughts and behaviors that trigger gambling. It can be done one-on-one or in group sessions with other people with similar issues. Other types of therapy include psychodynamic therapy and family therapy.

People with gambling disorder often have a history of mental illness or substance abuse. They may also have a genetic predisposition or be under increased stress or financial pressure. Symptoms of gambling disorders can begin in adolescence or adulthood. They can affect men and women equally.

There are several ways to get help for a gambling disorder, including counselling, support groups and medication. Inpatient or residential treatment and rehab programs are also available for severe cases of the condition. These programs provide round-the-clock supervision and support to help you overcome your problem.

If you’re concerned about someone’s gambling, speak to a debt advisor at StepChange. They can help you understand your options and offer free, confidential advice. In addition, it’s important to manage your finances so that you don’t fall into the same trap. You can also check the government’s debt advice guide to see which schemes are available to you.

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