How to Recognise If Gambling is a Problem


Gambling is a popular pastime, but for many people it can become a problem. It can harm health, relationships and performance at work or study, get someone into trouble with the law and leave them in debt and potentially homeless. It can also lead to self-destructive thoughts and feelings and cause problems for family members and friends.

If you think gambling may be a problem, speak to a mental health professional. They will be able to help you assess the situation and offer advice on how to overcome it.

Having a good time is the main reason people gamble, but it can be a bad thing if you become addicted to gambling and lose control over your spending habits. Here are some signs to look out for and what you can do about it.

The first sign that gambling is becoming a problem is if you lose control of your finances, and have to hide money or credit cards because they’re being spent on gambling. If you have been in this situation for a while, it’s time to reach out to someone who can help you.

If you gamble regularly, make sure to set a budget and stick to it. Then, when you’re losing money, don’t try to get it back by gambling again and again. This is known as the “gambler’s fallacy.”

Take small risks with a fixed amount of money you can afford to lose, and don’t try to win back what you’ve lost. This will help you create boundaries and stop feeling like you need to gamble.

Always tip your dealer and cocktail waitresses at casinos, even if you don’t win anything. That way, you’re going to have a better experience and won’t feel like you’re getting ripped off or caught out.

It’s important to remember that there is no guarantee of winning any money or prizes when gambling, and the odds are designed to work against you. The cheapest way to play is usually the most risky, and that’s why it’s often called “money-losing” games.

If you’re a parent or carer of a loved one who is suffering from a gambling addiction, it can be difficult to deal with them. They can become very anxious about the consequences of their behavior and can resist seeking help.

When you’re dealing with a loved one who is gambling, it’s important to have conversations and set boundaries to prevent relapse. You can ask the person to put their finances in your name or ask a trusted friend or relative to monitor the money they spend on gambling.

Be aware that gambling can be a form of addiction, and is often used as a way to escape from stress or depression. You should check in with a psychiatric professional to ensure that the underlying mood disorder is being addressed and not just the gambling issue.

The DSM-5 has reclassified gambling as a behavioral addiction, reflecting research findings that it is similar to substance-related disorders in clinical expression, brain origin, comorbidity, physiology and treatment. This move reflects a new understanding of the biology of addiction and is an important step towards treating people who can’t stop gambling.