How to Recognise Gambling Disorder

Gambling is an activity that involves risking money in the hope of winning a prize. It can take place in a variety of settings, from casinos to racetracks, church halls and even gas stations. It can be a fun and enjoyable pastime, but it can also be dangerous, especially when a person becomes addicted to gambling. People who are struggling with gambling addiction may find themselves unable to control their gambling behaviour and can experience serious financial problems. The impact of this can be felt by not only the gambler themselves but by family members, friends and work colleagues too.

Many people struggle to understand how someone could become addicted to gambling. They might find themselves lying to their loved ones, hiding evidence of their gambling or even spending most of their salary on it. This can cause severe damage to a person’s physical and mental health, relationships, career and can get them into serious debt or even homeless. It can also harm a person’s wellbeing, making them depressed and affecting their performance at work and school. It can also lead to self-harm and suicide.

Problem gambling can be hard to recognise, but it is important to know the signs and symptoms of the condition. There are a number of different services that can offer support and assistance for people who have issues with gambling. These organisations can help them to gain control over their gambling and stop it from causing any further harm.

In general, there are four main reasons why people gamble. These include social reasons, financial reasons, escape from boredom or stress, and a desire to win. However, most of the time gambling isn’t just about the money – it can be about a sense of adventure, excitement or fulfilment of an unmet need. For example, a person who doesn’t feel that they belong to a community might seek out status and specialness through gambling, something which casinos encourage by rewarding players with freebies and other perks.

Research has shown that impulsivity plays a key role in gambling disorder. This can be because of a lack of understanding about the nature of gambling and how it works, or because of low levels of impulse control. Other factors can include boredom susceptibility, a poor understanding of random events and use of escape coping.

In order to be diagnosed with gambling disorder, a person must have repeated unsuccessful attempts to control, cut back or stop their gambling. This is a change from the original DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). Following discussions at international conferences and consultation with gambling researchers and clinicians, it was decided that this should remain as a diagnostic criterion. However, the wording of this criterion was changed to make it more consistent with the other criteria. For example, it is now “repeated unsuccessful attempts to reduce or control gambling.” This has improved the consistency of definition of the condition. It is hoped that this will lead to better communication between experts in the field.