Gambling is when you risk something of value (such as money, a product or a service) in order to win something else of value. It can be fun and exciting, but it also comes with a number of risks, including addiction and financial problems. This article helps you understand the nature of gambling, how it affects your brain, and why some people have a problem with it.
Most adults and adolescents have placed some kind of bet, but a small percentage go on to develop gambling disorder. This is a serious mental illness that can cause significant distress, impaired functioning and financial losses. This section explains how gambling disorder is diagnosed and treated, and how to recognize the symptoms in yourself or someone you know.
A person with a gambling disorder:
(1) loses control of their finances; (2) often bets more than they can afford to lose; (3) lies to family members, therapists or others in an attempt to conceal the extent of their involvement in gambling; (4) experiences negative emotions when they gamble; (5) is restless or irritable after losing money; and/or (6) repeatedly attempts to cut down or stop gambling but fails.
The first step in overcoming a gambling disorder is admitting that you have a problem, which can be very difficult, especially if you’ve lost a lot of money or strained relationships. However, many people have successfully overcome their gambling disorder and rebuilt their lives. There are organisations that offer support, treatment and debt advice.