Categories: Gambling

Helping Someone With a Gambling Problem

Gambling involves betting on an event that is uncertain in its outcome. A person may choose to gamble on a football game, or a horse race, or even buy a scratchcard. The choice made is then matched to a set of odds (payout ratios) which are determined by the betting company and based on actuarial data.

Many people take part in gambling activities for social, recreational, or financial reasons. Some people find it difficult to control their gambling and become addicted. They often spend more than they can afford, which causes them to get into debt and can have a serious effect on their health and wellbeing. They may also lose jobs, relationships and become homeless as a result of their addiction.

Although most adults and adolescents engage in some form of gambling, a subset of individuals develop problem gambling, defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders as persistent and recurrent behavior that results in significant distress or impairment. Problem gambling can lead to financial problems, substance use disorders and suicidal thoughts.

There are a number of things you can do to help someone who is struggling with gambling addiction. Don’t ignore the problem – contact a local professional for support and advice. It can be especially helpful to talk to a family therapist if your loved one has a gambling problem. Ask about local referral resources for certified gambling counselors and intensive treatment programs. Learn to relieve unpleasant feelings in healthier ways – try exercising, spending time with friends who don’t gamble, or practicing relaxation techniques.

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