Gambling Disorder

Gambling is a risky activity where people place bets with something of value (money, objects or items) on an event that is based on chance. People gamble for a variety of reasons: to win money, to make social connections, to change their mood or because they enjoy thinking about what they would do if they won a jackpot. But gambling is not a way to get rich, and the risks can outweigh the rewards.

People can experience problems with gambling when the behaviour becomes compulsive. This is known as gambling disorder. People with gambling disorder may continue to gamble despite negative consequences, such as financial loss, relationship difficulties and health issues. They can also be secretive about their gambling and lie about how much they gamble. People with gambling disorders often hide their gambling from friends and family, as they fear that others won’t understand or support them.

Symptoms of gambling disorder can start at any age. But they tend to run in families, and can be triggered by trauma or social inequality. Women are more likely to develop symptoms than men. They can also be exacerbated by stress, depression and substance use.

There are many organisations that offer help and support to those affected by gambling. This includes peer support groups, eg Gamblers Anonymous, which is based on the 12-step model used by Alcoholics Anonymous. These groups can provide advice and support to people with gambling problems and their family and friends. They can also offer advice on how to overcome problems and relapses.

Some people are able to control their gambling behaviour without help, but for those with problems, treatment is available. Different treatments are used for gambling disorders, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and psychodynamic therapy. CBT focuses on changing unhealthy gambling behaviors and thoughts, and teaching coping skills that can last a lifetime. Psychodynamic therapy can help address underlying emotions such as anxiety, anger or depression that can lead to problem gambling.

Other approaches include mindfulness-based stress reduction, and acceptance and commitment therapy. These can be helpful in reducing impulsivity and in helping people recognise their triggers for gambling. It is also important to seek treatment for any underlying conditions that may contribute to gambling disorder, such as depression, anxiety or substance abuse.

To manage your gambling, set a budget for yourself and stick to it. Don’t bet more than you can afford to lose, and never gamble with money that is intended for other purposes (such as rent or food). Remove gambling apps from your phone or laptop and don’t let them autofill. And try to balance your gambling with other hobbies or interests. It’s also important not to gamble while you are feeling depressed or stressed, as this can make the urge to bet stronger. If you do, you are more likely to end up chasing your losses and losing more than you have won. Finally, avoid borrowing money to gamble – this almost always leads to bigger losses than the original bet.

Theme: Overlay by Kaira Extra Text
Cape Town, South Africa