How to Prevent a Gambling Problem


Gambling is a popular activity around the world, and is a common form of legalized entertainment. However, gambling also has addictive potential, and can have a negative effect on your life. If you find yourself unable to stop, you may be in need of treatment.

Gambling can have a significant impact on your finances and relationships. It can trigger mood changes, including anxiety and depression. A person can also run up huge debts, which can be difficult to repay. Some people with gambling problems have even committed crimes to pay for their gambling habits.

Even young people can develop a problem. For example, in 2005, a survey of Alberta students found that two out of every 100 students had a problem with gambling. Among those students, four were at risk of developing a gambling problem.

You can take steps to prevent a gambling problem from taking hold of your life. One way is to establish boundaries with your money. For example, you might consider getting rid of credit cards and keeping a small cash amount. Alternatively, you can let someone else handle your financial situation. This will help you to stay accountable.

Another approach is to seek counselling. In addition to providing you with advice, counsellors can also be a source of support and encouragement. They are also available 24 hours a day. You can also sign up for a program called Gamblers Anonymous, which has former addicts who share their stories.

Family members should encourage their loved one to seek treatment. However, they should not lecture them or make them feel ashamed. Moreover, they should not threaten them with a loss of family privileges. At the same time, they should not keep their loved one from participating in other activities.

Problem gamblers usually lie to conceal the extent of their involvement with gambling. Their behaviors often become more progressive as their addiction progresses. Many people who have a gambling problem can’t control their urges to gamble, so they try to quit without success.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) lists gambling as a psychological disorder alongside other addictive behaviors. While there are no specific tests or questionnaires to diagnose a gambling problem, many mental health professionals use DSM criteria.

There are various types of gambling, which include chance-based gambling, like playing the lottery, and skill-based gambling, like card games. Both types have an equal probability of winning and losing. Chance-based gambling can be played with a variety of materials, such as a ball or a dice. Similarly, skill-based gambling can be played with marbles or collectible game pieces.

Pathological gambling is a condition that involves gambling in an unhealthy manner. Problem gamblers may exhibit behavioral or cognitive biases, as well as a need to win something of value.

Symptoms of pathological gambling include feeling a need to win, the inability to resist a craving to gamble, a desire to quit, or an obsession with the activity. Moreover, problem gambling is often associated with high suicidal ideation, and can worsen other health problems.