Getting Help For Gambling Disorders


Gambling is the act of risking something of value, such as money or possessions, on the outcome of an event involving chance. It can be done in a variety of ways, including betting on football matches, playing casino games or using scratchcards. The aim is to win more money than you put in. If you are wrong, you lose what you gambled. While gambling can be a fun and enjoyable activity, it can also be dangerous if you have problems with your mental health or are struggling with debt.

Many people who have a problem with gambling don’t get help. This can be due to a lack of awareness about the issue or a fear that it will ruin their lives. Often, underlying issues such as depression, anxiety or drug addiction are what triggers gambling problems. Getting help for these conditions is important and can be helped by addressing the root causes of the problem.

There is a wide range of treatment options for people with gambling disorders. These include cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), family and marriage counselling, career and credit counseling, as well as financial management skills. These strategies can help you break the cycle of gambling and begin to rebuild your relationships, finances and life.

CBT can help people with gambling problems to change the way they think about betting and how they feel when they want to bet. It can also help you learn to manage your emotions and stop feeling the need to gamble when you are feeling low or stressed. CBT is an effective treatment for many people with gambling disorders, and it is usually accompanied by medication.

While most adults and children who gamble do so without problems, a small percentage of them develop compulsive gambling disorder, which is defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) as persistent and recurrent maladaptive patterns of gambling behavior that cause significant distress or impairment. This disorder typically starts during adolescence or early adulthood and can affect women as well as men. It can involve any type of gambling and can be more common in those with a family history of the condition.

There is a strong link between gambling and thoughts of suicide, so it is vital to seek help for any emotional or mental health problems you may be experiencing. If you are concerned about your own gambling habits or that of someone close to you, contact StepChange for free debt advice. You can call them on 0800 138 1111. The charity also has an online self-assessment tool for people worried about their own gambling habits. This will ask you some simple questions to help you determine whether your concerns are serious and needs attention. You can then choose the right service to meet your individual needs. These services can be found in a number of different places, from online to local community support groups. A GP will not be able to assess your gambling disorder, but can refer you for a specialist service.