Gambling Disorders – How to Recognise and Overcome a Gambling Problem


Gambling involves risking money or something of value in an attempt to predict the outcome of a game of chance. It can be as simple as a roll of the dice or as complex as betting on horse races and football matches. Although gambling is an exciting pastime, it can also be addictive. If you find yourself chasing losses or betting more and more money, it is important to seek help before the situation becomes out of control.

If you know someone with a gambling problem, it is essential to talk to them and support them in finding recovery. Many organisations offer services, including treatment and therapy, for people affected by gambling. These can include online support and self-assessment tools, as well as face-to-face meetings with professionals who can provide advice and assistance.

Several theories explain why some people become addicted to gambling. For example, Zuckerman’s theory of sensation-seeking suggests that individuals gamble for the positive reinforcement and high levels of arousal associated with gambling. Cloninger’s theory of addiction also suggests that gambling is a compulsion and that individuals with a proneness to substance abuse are at risk for gambling disorder.

Another factor that can lead to a gambling disorder is the desire for immediate rewards. This is why it can be so tempting to place a bet on your favourite team or to play one of the new online casino games. These types of games are designed to trigger a quick reward response in your brain, giving you an instantaneous buzz or rush. Unfortunately, these responses are short-lived and can be very addictive.

Research also indicates that people with a gambling problem are more likely to experience mood disorders such as depression and anxiety, which can contribute to the development of a gambling addiction. It is also important to seek professional help, as there are a number of different ways to overcome a gambling addiction, including cognitive behavioral therapy and psychodynamic therapy. In addition, many support groups have been established for individuals with a gambling problem, such as Gamblers Anonymous, which follows a 12-step recovery program similar to Alcoholics Anonymous.

Finally, some researchers have found that people who are predisposed to substance abuse or gambling can be triggered to start these activities by changes in the way their brain sends chemical messages. This, combined with genetic predispositions and environmental influences, can cause a person to develop a pathological gambling habit. This type of behaviour was previously known as compulsive gambling and is now recognised as an addiction in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). To learn more about how to recognise signs of a gambling disorder, read on.