Gambling Disorders

Gambling is the act of placing a value on an uncertain event. Whether it be placing money on a football match or buying a scratchcard, gambling is done for a chance to win something of value. This can have short-term and long-term financial, psychological, emotional and cultural impacts on a person’s life.

Some people have trouble controlling their impulses and weighing risk, and these can lead to problems with gambling. These are known as gambling disorders. Gambling disorder is now considered a behavioral addiction in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), and it’s similar to substance dependence in its clinical expression, brain origin, comorbidity and treatment.

Those with gambling problems often have different beliefs and attitudes to betting, including the belief that they are more likely to win than others and that certain rituals can bring luck. It can also be difficult for them to stop gambling and they may even try to win back any losses by betting more. Counselling can help them change these beliefs and behaviors, as well as learn to cope with negative emotions in healthier ways.

It is also important to recognise that gambling can have harmful social effects, such as influencing the culture of a society. It can be hard to talk about this issue with family or friends, as many people will be secretive about their gambling or lie about how much they spend. This can cause rifts in relationships and can make it harder to seek treatment.

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