Recognising the Signs of a Gambling Problem


Gambling is the wagering of something of value – usually money – on an event involving chance with the expectation of winning a prize. It is a popular pastime that occurs in casinos, on sports events and even online. Gambling can be a fun and enjoyable activity for some people, but it is important to recognize that gambling can have negative consequences when the behaviour becomes compulsive or out of control.

Gambling can be addictive because it provides an escape from reality. It can be used to relieve boredom, loneliness, depression, grief and anxiety. It can also be used to cope with financial problems. The act of gambling stimulates the reward centre in the brain, producing dopamine when a gambler wins. As a result, the individual may continue to gamble in the hope of recovering past losses and to increase future gains.

When the person is experiencing a gambling problem, it is important for friends and family to offer support. However, it is essential that they do not take on responsibility for the gambling behaviour of a loved one. This includes preventing them from gambling, limiting the amount of time they spend gambling, and looking after their finances e.g. keeping credit and EFTPOS cards secure, getting legal advice if needed and changing their will to make sure that any future inheritance will not be lost to gambling.

It is also important to recognise the signs of a gambling problem and to seek help for yourself or a family member if the issue becomes severe. Some common signs include:

A person with a gambling problem often feels they cannot talk about their addiction to others. This is because they are often ashamed or embarrassed about their behaviour. It is important to try and get them to open up about their problems without making them feel embarrassed or ashamed. It is also important to avoid criticising or belittling their gambling habits.

Gambling has been linked to a variety of negative impacts on health, well-being and society. These impacts can be categorized into three classes: financial, labor and health and well-being. The impact of gambling can be observed on a personal level to the gamblers themselves, or on an interpersonal and community/societal levels, which concern those who are not gamblers.

A person with a gambling problem can cause many problems for their family and friends. The most obvious problem is the money that they spend on gambling. Having to pay for their addiction can lead to arguments and tension within the family. It is also important to consider whether there are underlying mood disorders that could be contributing to the gambling behaviour, such as depression or stress. These issues should be addressed, ideally alongside seeking professional counselling help for the gambling problem. It is also helpful to learn about healthy ways to relieve unpleasant feelings and to find alternative ways of coping, such as exercising, spending time with non-gambling friends, and practising relaxation techniques.