Gambling involves risking something of value (money, property or other assets) on an outcome that depends on chance. This can include games of chance such as scratchcards and roulette, as well as sports betting and other forms of skill-based gambling. It can be a very addictive activity.
Problem gambling is when a person gambles to the point where it becomes harmful or disruptive to their life. The symptoms include:
Using more than they can afford to lose; lying about how much money or time they are spending on gambling; hiding evidence of their gambling behaviour; betting more and more in order to make up for previous losses; seeking out gambling activities even when they cause harm; relying on family, friends or strangers for money to fund their gambling or to offset the financial consequences of their gambling; stealing or committing other illegal acts to finance gambling or to pay off debts resulting from gambling; and having thoughts about suicide.
There are a number of things that can help someone with a gambling problem. These include therapy, support groups, and self-help programs such as Gamblers Anonymous, which follows a similar model to Alcoholics Anonymous. Some research has also shown that physical exercise can help people with gambling problems.
The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. This can be hard, especially if your gambling has cost you a lot of money and strained or broken relationships with loved ones. If you can’t find a therapist near you, try our Online Therapist Directory. We’ll match you with a licensed, professional, and vetted therapist in as little as 48 hours.