How to Recognise and Overcome a Gambling Problem

Gambling is an activity where you make a bet on something, either by putting money in a slot machine or betting on an event. It’s a high-risk, high-reward activity that can cause people to feel exhilarated when they win and down when they lose. It’s also known to have health risks, including psychological problems and addiction.

It’s important to recognize a gambling problem before it gets out of hand. Problem gamblers may feel a need to hide their habits or lie about how much they spend, fearing that others won’t understand them or that they’ll be upset if they discover the truth. Problem gambling can lead to financial ruin, homelessness and even crime.

Some people have a genetic predisposition to thrill-seeking behaviours and impulsivity, which can increase the likelihood of developing a gambling disorder. This can be due to certain chemicals in the brain, such as dopamine, that affect how we process reward information and control impulses. It can also be a result of the cultural context in which we live, with some communities embracing gambling as an acceptable pastime.

Compulsive gambling can also harm relationships as individuals may put their habit before their loved ones, leading them to go to extreme lengths to source for more funds. This can include going into debt, entering illegal activities or resenting their partners for giving in to their requests to play again. To help overcome a gambling disorder, individuals should build and strengthen their support networks. They can also seek out peer support through programmes like Gamblers Anonymous, which follows a 12-step recovery model similar to Alcoholics Anonymous.