How to Recognise an Addiction to Gambling


Gambling is a form of risk-taking where people bet something of value on a random event with the aim of winning something else of value. The odds of winning are usually published, so punters can see the likelihood of them winning or losing. However, despite this apparent transparency, gambling is still an addictive activity which can cause problems for some people. It can lead to debt, financial difficulty and mental health issues. It can also impact relationships and cause a variety of physical symptoms.

Despite these concerns, gambling is an industry that contributes to society in many ways. It provides entertainment and helps people socialise. It can also help individuals overcome a number of psychological issues. For example, if you have an addiction to gambling and are having trouble breaking the habit, it can be helpful to seek treatment or join a support group. The first step is to acknowledge that you have a problem, which can be difficult for some people. Having an addiction to gambling can also have negative effects on your work and family life.

People gamble for a number of reasons: they may enjoy the thrill of winning money, socialise with friends or escape from everyday worries. But it can be a serious problem for some people, and it is important to recognise the signs of an addiction to gambling. If you are losing more than you’re winning, borrowing money to gamble or spending more time gambling than with your loved ones, it is likely that you have a gambling problem.

Some people are at greater risk of developing a gambling disorder than others. This includes people with a history of substance or alcohol misuse; those with a family history of gambling problems; those who have coexisting mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety or ADHD; and young people. Up to 5% of adolescents and young adults who gamble develop a gambling disorder.

A gambling disorder is an impulse control disorder and is listed in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Fifth Edition). It can have a wide range of negative psychological, physical, and social consequences. People with a gambling disorder often experience depression and distress, and some have suicidal thoughts and tendencies. In addition, excessive gambling can result in sleep deprivation, which can lead to fatigue, weight gain or loss, acne and dark circles under the eyes.

Despite the negative aspects of gambling, it is a fun and popular pastime that can give people an adrenaline rush and make them feel good. It is important to remember that gambling should be used for entertainment purposes only and that it should not replace other activities that can provide a similar level of enjoyment. For example, spending time with loved ones, eating a healthy meal or going to the movies are all activities that can make us feel good. When we engage in these activities, our brain releases a chemical called dopamine, which makes us feel happy and satisfied.