When Does Gambling Become a Problem?

Gambling is an activity in which one risks something of value, usually money, on an outcome primarily determined by chance. It has been a part of most societies since prerecorded history and is often incorporated into local customs, traditions, and rites. Some individuals gamble responsibly, while others become heavily involved, to the point where it negatively impacts their lives and those of their families. Despite its darker side, gambling is a popular and legal form of entertainment in many countries around the world.

Most people gamble for entertainment, as a social diversion, or to experience the thrill of winning. But a small group of individuals get hooked, and gambling can quickly become an addiction with significant negative social, family, and financial effects. It is estimated that approximately 20 percent of gamblers become compulsive and require professional help to overcome their problem.

When does Gambling become a problem? It’s important to recognize the signs and symptoms of gambling addiction. Some of the most common warning signs include: a. a person has lost control of their finances by repeatedly gambling; b. a person is lying to family members, friends, or therapists about the extent of their gambling; c. a person has been forced to borrow or steal in order to fund gambling; d. a person is gambling to avoid feeling unpleasant emotions such as boredom, stress, or sadness; e. a person is spending more time gambling than they do on other activities; and f. a person has jeopardized or lost a job, career opportunity, or educational or training program due to their gambling.

There are a few things that people can do to help themselves, or their loved ones, cope with the negative effects of gambling. One is to seek support from family and friends, or join a support group. Another is to find healthy ways to relieve unpleasant feelings, such as exercising, socializing with friends who don’t gamble, or practicing relaxation techniques. Lastly, it’s also important to learn about local resources that can provide assistance for gambling addiction.

It can be difficult to know what to do if you suspect that someone you care about has a gambling problem. The most important thing is to be supportive and offer encouragement. It’s also important to be aware of the risk factors for gambling problems and encourage the individual to talk to a healthcare provider or seek treatment. Having a strong support system can help them to regain control of their life and stop gambling, and the associated negative consequences, for good. In addition, there are several effective treatments for gambling addiction. Learn more about these here. It’s also a good idea to discuss your family’s finances and credit card statements with the individual, so that you are aware of their spending habits. You may also want to talk to a professional who can provide you with local referral resources. This will help to keep your own money and credit safe. In some cases, a family member may need to take over managing the family’s finances in order to prevent problem gambling.