Gambling Disorders

Gambling is the act of putting something of value at risk in return for an expected prize. There are many types of gambling, from casino games, to sports betting, horse or greyhound racing and even lottery numbers. It can be done online, on a mobile phone or in a real casino. Gambling can be a fun and rewarding activity, but it can also be harmful. Problem gambling can affect health, relationships and work or study performance, and get people into debt and even homelessness.

Some people are more likely to have a gambling disorder, such as those who have an underactive brain reward system or are prone to impulsive behaviour. A person’s family, culture and social circumstances can also influence whether they gamble and what sort of gambling they engage in. Having a family history of gambling or depression, or experiencing trauma, can increase the risk of having a gambling disorder too.

Having a mental illness may also make it harder to recognize when you have a problem with gambling. This can be because of the stigma surrounding mental illness, or because of shared thoughts or values in your community that make it difficult to admit you have a problem. It can also be because you are worried that your family and friends will not understand or approve of your gambling.

There are a number of things you can do to help you quit gambling, including talking to a trusted friend or family member, getting professional support from a counselor, or joining a self-help group for families such as Gam-Anon. You can also try to avoid gambling, by getting rid of your credit cards, having someone else be in charge of your money, closing your online betting accounts and keeping only a small amount of cash with you. You can also try to distract yourself by doing another activity, such as exercising or going to a concert or play.

Some people are able to stop gambling on their own, but many need help. There are a range of different treatment options for gambling disorders, including psychodynamic therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy. Some people find it helpful to use medications as well. Only one in ten people who have a gambling disorder seek treatment. Many of those who do seek treatment have success, but it is important to be aware that it takes time and effort to overcome a gambling disorder. This is because the symptoms of gambling disorders can recur. Getting help sooner rather than later can reduce the chances of relapse and increase your chances of recovery. Seek treatment early, before your gambling problems worsen.