Dealing With a Gambling Problem


Gambling involves placing something of value on an event that has a chance of winning a prize. This could be betting on a football team to win a match or buying a scratchcard. The outcome of the gamble will be determined by a combination of the choice you make (whether to bet on a team or purchase a scratchcard) and the randomness of chance. This can be a fun and harmless pastime or an unhealthy obsession that has serious consequences. A gambling problem can cause stress on relationships, interfere with work and lead to financial disaster. People from all walks of life can develop a gambling problem and it can be hard to recognise. Gambling can occur in many places, including casinos, racetracks, gas stations and online.

It is estimated that there are over 10 trillion dollars legally wagered on gambling worldwide each year. The most common form of gambling is lotteries, which can be found in most countries across the world. Sports gambling is also a popular activity, with organized football pools and other forms of football betting. In addition, players of games like marbles and Magic: The Gathering may wager items of value in those games.

Some individuals are more at risk of developing a gambling disorder than others. The most vulnerable groups are young people, especially boys and men, as well as those with low incomes who have the least to lose and the most to gain from a big win. There are a number of factors that can contribute to gambling disorders, including personal and family history of gambling problems, trauma and coexisting mental health conditions.

There are a variety of treatment options for gambling disorders. The most effective approach is often cognitive behavioural therapy, or CBT. This type of treatment focuses on changing a person’s beliefs around gambling, such as thinking they are more likely to win than other people or believing that certain rituals will bring them luck. It can also address underlying issues, such as depression or anxiety.

Getting help for your loved one’s problem gambling

Dealing with a loved one with a gambling addiction can be very difficult and there are many things you can do to help. You can try to encourage them to seek professional help for their gambling issue and you can set boundaries in managing money, such as having them sign power of attorney or take control of the bank accounts. You can also try to avoid triggers, by ensuring that you don’t go to the same places where they gamble and by avoiding alcohol and drugs.

You can also try to distract yourself when you feel the urge to gamble. Try to spend time with friends or other activities that make you happy, and consider joining a support group such as Gamblers Anonymous. If you can’t resist the urge, try to postpone it for a few hours or days. If you have any debts, speak to StepChange for free debt advice.