Gambling Disorders


Gambling involves placing something of value, usually money, on a risky event with the hope of winning more than you staked. The event could be anything from a football match to a scratchcard. The chance of winning is based on a number of factors, including luck and skill. While most people who gamble do so without problems, a small percentage develop gambling disorder (also called compulsive gambling). This is characterized by uncontrollable urges to gamble and loss of control over one’s gambling habits. It can cause severe distress and impairment in many areas of life.

People with gambling disorders often suffer from other health and social problems, including depression, alcohol or drug abuse, or anxiety. They may also have a personality type that makes them more vulnerable to developing a gambling addiction.

Those with a gambling problem often feel the need to hide their gambling or lie about how much they are spending, and they might increase their bets in an attempt to win back losses. They might also be secretive about their behavior and think that others won’t understand or approve of it. Some even use the excuse that they are only gambling for entertainment.

If you are concerned that someone you know has a gambling problem, it’s important to seek therapy or counseling and talk openly about the issue. A therapist can help you identify and modify harmful thought patterns, as well as teach you skills to manage your urges to gamble. They can also help you address underlying mood disorders that may be contributing to your gambling problems.