Gambling and Its Problems


Gambling is when you risk something of value (money, possessions or your own time) on an uncertain outcome – like the roll of the dice, the spin of the wheel or the outcome of a horse race. Sometimes you lose money, and other times you win it. This uncertainty is what makes gambling so exciting and appealing – but it can also be dangerous for those who struggle with problem gambling.

Gamble in moderation: Set a limit on your spending, stick to it and never use credit cards to gamble. Set an alarm on your phone to remind you when you have spent all of your allocated budget – this will help keep you accountable and prevent the temptation to start gambling again after you’ve finished for the day.

Set boundaries with friends and family members: Try not to spend time with people who encourage you to gamble. If you find yourself going to casinos with them, ask if they can stop by your house to play with you for an hour or two so that you’re not exposed to the same environment all the time.

Be aware of the psychological impact of gambling: The media portrays gambling as fun, sexy and glamorous, which can reinforce certain ideas about self-worth, especially for those who are feeling low or lonely. Many individuals begin to gamble as a way to escape from their problems, whether financial, emotional or mental health-related. They may not realise they are using gambling as a coping mechanism, but it can lead to serious problems if the behaviour becomes problematic.

Problem gambling is considered a disorder because it interferes with a person’s ability to manage their finances, relationships and career. This is why it’s important to seek help if you recognise these symptoms in yourself or someone close to you. It’s a common reaction to underestimate how much you’re gambling or to lie about it, but you shouldn’t have to cope with this on your own.

There’s a range of services that offer support, assistance and counselling to people who are struggling with gambling. They can help you learn how to control your gambling and sometimes even avoid it altogether, depending on the service you choose. They can also provide support to your friends and family, and educate them about the risks of gambling.

Different professionals have different paradigms or world views from which to view gambling, which has contributed to the wide range of opinions about gambling and its problems. Research scientists, psychiatrists and other treatment care clinicians, for example, tend to frame issues around gambling differently based on their disciplinary training, expertise, and special interests. Consequently, they have developed competing definitions of what constitutes gambling disorders and their progression from mild to severe. This has fueled debate about the appropriateness of the DSM-III criteria for addiction and pathological gambling.