How to Help Someone With a Gambling Disorder


Gambling is a type of activity in which people risk money or something else of value on an event that is determined at least in part by chance. It can involve betting on sports events, buying lottery tickets or scratchcards, playing bingo, or placing bets with friends. In some cases, gambling can become a serious problem. People who gamble can become dependent on gambling and lose control of their lives and finances. They may even begin to spend money they don’t have. In addition, they may be unable to stop gambling. Fortunately, there are many ways to help someone who has a gambling addiction.

Most people who gamble do so without any problems, but there are some who develop a gambling disorder. This is an impulse control disorder that can lead to excessive and compulsive gambling. The condition can cause anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. It is also linked to substance abuse and other types of behavioral addictions. In addition, it can ruin relationships and careers. It is estimated that 4% of adults in the United States have a gambling disorder.

The symptoms of a gambling disorder include: (1) the gambler repeatedly loses control over gambling; (2) lies to family members or therapists in order to conceal the extent of involvement with gambling; (3) frequent feelings of hopelessness, guilt, anxiety, or depression; (4) after losing money at gambling, the person returns the next day to try to win it back (“chasing losses”); (5) has committed illegal acts (e.g., forgery, embezzlement, fraud) to finance gambling; (6) has jeopardized or lost a relationship, job, educational or career opportunity, or has spent more than they can afford; and (7) has considered committing suicide or has attempted suicide. (American Psychiatric Association 2000).

There are several things that can help someone with a gambling disorder. Seeking counseling from a therapist or group can help them understand their behavior and think about how it affects others. In addition, some people find that addressing underlying mood disorders like depression or anxiety can help them overcome their gambling urges. Other helpful treatments for gambling disorder include avoiding activities that trigger it, finding other things to do with your time, and seeking support from family or friends. Additionally, a therapist can teach people coping skills to deal with their gambling urges and help them address other underlying issues in their life.

It is important to know the risks of gambling so that you can protect yourself and those you love. You should only gamble with money that you can afford to lose. It is also a good idea to set time and money limits and stick to them. If you find that you are struggling with a gambling addiction, seek treatment right away. In addition, it is also a good idea to surround yourself with positive people and to avoid those who encourage gambling. In addition, it is important to practice self-care, including exercise, eating healthy foods, and getting enough sleep.