Gambling Addiction

Whether it’s playing slot machines, betting on horses or flipping a coin, gambling involves risking something of value in the hope of gaining more. Gambling can be a harmless pastime for some people, but for others it can cause health problems, impoverish families and lead to blackmail. It can also harm relationships and performance at work or study, get people into debt, and even contribute to suicide.

Problem gambling can be triggered by financial difficulties, boredom or depression. It can also be a way to escape from responsibilities and be surrounded by different people, sights and sounds. It’s often difficult to know when gambling becomes a problem because some people hide their behaviour, lying to friends and family about how much time and money they spend on gambling.

Some factors make people more prone to gambling addiction, including genetics and personality. People who have underlying mood disorders, like anxiety or depression, may be more likely to gamble compulsively.

Scientists are still learning about how and why gambling becomes a problem, but there are some warning signs. In the past, the psychiatric community regarded pathological gambling as more of a compulsion than an addiction. However, in 2013 the APA moved it to the Addictions chapter of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM). It is now viewed as more similar to other impulse control disorders, such as kleptomania or pyromania. For more information, see the Royal College of Psychiatrists website. You can find free and confidential help for gambling addiction from a range of organisations.

By adminnuclear
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