How to Help Someone With a Gambling Problem


Gambling is the wagering of something of value (money or another item) on an event that is based on chance, with the hope of winning something else of value. It is a form of entertainment, and it can also be a social activity. It is important to note, however, that gambling involves risk and should be treated as such.

While many people enjoy gambling, it can be a dangerous habit for some people. It can lead to financial problems, ruin relationships, hurt career prospects and cause health issues. In some cases, it can even result in suicide. In addition, it can have negative impacts on family members and friends. The good news is, there are ways to help a person with a gambling problem.

In the past, the psychiatric community generally viewed pathological gambling as a compulsion rather than an addiction. However, in a landmark decision in the 1980s, when updating its diagnostic manual, the American Psychiatric Association moved the disorder to a new category on behavioral addictions. This was because the disorder shares a number of characteristics with substance-related disorders, including clinical expression, brain origin, comorbidity and physiology.

Today, gambling is legal in all but two U.S. states, and it is much more popular than ever before. In fact, four in five Americans say they’ve gambled at some point in their lives. And with the proliferation of online gaming, it is easier than ever to gamble without leaving your home.

In addition to providing a source of entertainment and revenue, gambling also offers several societal benefits. For example, it provides employment opportunities for thousands of people, from dealers and wait staff to management and security personnel. It also stimulates economic growth and provides revenues for government services.

It is essential to recognize that there are both positive and negative aspects of gambling, and to weigh these when deciding how to regulate it. Ultimately, it’s up to each society to decide whether gambling is appropriate in their culture and to establish responsible gaming practices.

If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, it’s important to seek treatment as soon as possible. Treatment can include individual and family therapy, as well as marriage, career and credit counseling. It’s also a good idea to address any underlying mood disorders, such as depression, stress or anxiety, because these can make the symptoms of problem gambling worse. For fast, confidential support, BetterHelp can match you with licensed therapists who specialize in treating depression, anxiety and relationship issues. Start by taking our assessment, and you could be connected with a therapist in as little as 48 hours. The first step in getting help for a gambling problem is admitting that you have a problem. It takes tremendous strength and courage to come forward, especially if you’ve lost a lot of money or suffered strained or broken relationships because of your gambling habits. But don’t give up. There are people who have successfully overcome their gambling addictions and rebuilt their lives.