Gambling is the wagering of something of value, such as money or property, on an uncertain event whose outcome depends on chance. It can be done legally or illegally, and involves a high degree of risk. It is often associated with addiction and can have serious consequences for the person involved, their family, and society. It is a complex and challenging issue to study.
Many factors may contribute to gambling problems. These include: family history of problem gambling, childhood exposure to gambling, psychological distress, and mental illness such as depression. It is important to address any underlying issues that may be contributing to a loved one’s addiction to gambling.
Gambling can be a fun and exciting pastime, but it can also be extremely addictive and even dangerous. There are some warning signs that you may be exhibiting signs of gambling addiction:
A desire to gamble more frequently or with larger amounts of money. Feelings of excitement and euphoria while gambling. Repeated unsuccessful attempts to cut down or stop gambling. Continuing to gamble even when it causes distress or financial difficulty.
People are most likely to develop a problem with gambling in their early 20s, although young children as young as 8 have been known to play games such as marbles and pogs. It’s important to remember that you can’t control how other people gamble, but you can take steps to protect yourself from becoming addicted by controlling your own spending and setting money boundaries with your loved ones.
There are a number of ways you can help a loved one with a gambling addiction, including educating yourself on the risks and providing support. You can also set financial boundaries and make it clear that you are not responsible for their financial decisions. This could involve taking over household bills, putting someone else in charge of managing the money, closing bank accounts, and keeping only a small amount of cash on you.
In the past, people who had gambling problems were seen as having recreational interests, poor math skills, or mental illnesses, but understanding of gambling disorders has undergone a profound change in recent years, and pathological gambling is now classified as an addictive disorder in the DSM-5 (American Psychiatric Association, 1980, 1987, 1994).
While it’s important to recognise that there are a number of reasons why someone might be at risk of developing a problem with gambling, it’s equally vital to understand how gambling works in order to protect yourself from the consequences of this behaviour. For example, many people gamble for coping reasons – to forget their worries, because it’s a social activity, or because it relieves boredom or tension. These reasons don’t absolve them of responsibility, but they can help you avoid becoming angry or frustrated with your loved ones if you are aware of their motives. If you’re worried about your own finances, contact StepChange for free debt advice. They can help you find the best solution to your situation.