When Gambling Becomes a Problem


People gamble for many reasons, including to get an adrenaline rush from the chance of winning money, socialise or escape worries or stress. For some, however, gambling can become problematic. Problem gambling can lead to health problems, financial difficulties, relationship issues and even legal trouble. It can also lead to loss of employment and can cause emotional distress to family members. There are various organisations that provide support and assistance for those with a gambling addiction, as well as treatment services.

Often it’s hard to know when gambling is becoming a problem. Some people may deny that they have a problem and try to hide their gambling activities from family members and friends. Others may start to lose control of their finances and spend more than they can afford. It is important to recognise the warning signs of a problem and seek help if you have concerns.

Gambling can be harmful to our mental and physical health, cause financial problems, disrupt our work and relationships and can cause serious debt and even homelessness. The good news is that there are ways to stop gambling causing harm and to take control of your finances. Taking up a new hobby, exercising or spending time with loved ones who don’t gamble can be good substitutes for gambling. Managing depression or other mood disorders can also help to break the cycle of gambling.

Online and mobile access to gambling has made it much easier for some people to gamble than in the past. This means that there are more chances of gambling becoming a problem, especially for younger people who have grown up with these new technologies. In addition to online and mobile betting sites, there are now many casino-style games and gambling apps that can be played on smartphones, tablets and laptops.

It’s important to remember that gambling is always a risk. While some people do win big, the vast majority of people who gamble will lose some money. Gambling can be addictive because it can trigger feelings of euphoria and can change moods, both of which are linked to the brain’s reward system.

It is also important to set a budget and only gamble with disposable income, as opposed to money that is needed for bills or rent. Similarly, it’s worth keeping a diary of how much you’re spending on gambling each day so that you can track your spending. You should also try to never chase losses, as this can be very dangerous and can lead to a gambling problem. Instead, focus on having fun and treat any wins as a bonus. Also, be aware of the ‘gambler’s fallacy’ – believing that you are due for a win and will soon recoup your losses. This is a common trap for those who struggle with gambling and can have devastating effects on your life. If you need help overcoming a gambling problem, you can take the first step to recovery by getting in touch with BetterHelp, an online therapy service that matches you with licensed, accredited therapists. You can complete a short assessment and be matched with a therapist within 48 hours.