Gambling As an Addiction

Gambling is when a person puts something of value, such as money, on the outcome of an event that is determined by chance. This can be done in a physical location such as a casino, or online. There are many different reasons for people to gamble, these can include social, entertainment or financial reasons. However, for some people it becomes an addiction that takes over their lives and can lead to debt problems.

In 2013, gambling was included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) as an addictive disorder, akin to substance abuse. This is because, like drugs and alcohol, it can cause changes to the way a person’s brain sends chemical messages. It can also affect their mood and behaviour.

There are many risks associated with gambling, including an increased risk of depression and thoughts of suicide. It can also lead to relationship problems and financial difficulties. In order to protect yourself against this, you should always keep a close eye on your spending habits and ensure you have enough income to cover all of your expenses. If you are worried about your finances, speak to StepChange for free and confidential debt advice.

A major reason for people to gamble is for social reasons, this may be because they enjoy meeting other people in a gambling venue or because the media portrays it as sexy and glamorous. Some people also find that gambling makes them feel good or gives them a rush. For some, gambling is a way to escape from their troubles and worries, such as financial problems, boredom or grief.

While there are many benefits to gambling, it can become problematic for some people if it is not managed correctly. If you are worried about your gambling, it is important to seek help as soon as possible. There are many different treatment options for gambling problems, such as cognitive-behaviour therapy, which helps people to confront their irrational beliefs and urges. This is often combined with a 12-step programme, which can be helpful for those suffering from an addiction.

It is also important to understand how gambling can be a problem for some people, so you can recognise the warning signs and take steps to stop it from getting out of control. This can involve cutting down how much you gamble, having friends who don’t gamble and learning other ways to relieve unpleasant feelings.

The best way to treat gambling addiction is with family and individual therapy, which can be provided by StepChange. These can help you work through the issues that caused your gambling, rebalance your life and start to rebuild your relationships and finances.

There are some limitations to gambling impact studies, most notably the difficulty of measuring social impacts. While monetary costs and benefits are relatively straightforward to quantify, social costs like emotional distress, relationship problems and loss of self-esteem cannot be measured in monetary terms. Hence, the need for more comprehensive approaches to measuring gambling impacts is urgently required.