How to Help Someone With a Gambling Problem


Gambling involves risking something of value (money, property, possessions or even one’s life) on an event whose outcome is determined by chance. It includes games of chance like scratchcards, roulette, blackjack or baccarat as well as betting on events such as horse races or football matches. It also includes lottery, keno and bingo.

There is a strong association between pathological gambling and depression, as well as stress, anxiety and substance abuse. It can also interfere with normal family functioning and increase tensions in relationships. In addition, the compulsion to gamble can cause financial ruin, and some people end up losing their homes or families because of this problem.

Problem gambling is a significant public health issue that affects all age groups, but it appears to be more prevalent in adolescents and young adults. People with PG often report that their problems started in adolescence or early adulthood and became worse over time. Males are more likely to develop PG than females, and they tend to begin gambling earlier.

Pathological gambling (PG) is a type of impulse control disorder characterized by recurrent maladaptive patterns of behavior related to gambling. Those with PG are preoccupied with gambling and have difficulty controlling their spending habits. The condition may lead to other psychiatric disorders, such as depression, bipolar disorder or anxiety.

It is important to seek treatment for a gambling problem as soon as possible. This is especially true if it has caused or is threatening to cause serious harm to you, your family or your employment. There are many options for help, including self-help programs, therapy and support groups.

There are a number of things that you can do to help someone with a gambling problem, such as encouraging them to seek treatment and helping to pay for it. You can also help by setting financial boundaries and avoiding gambling products that are designed to keep people playing.

The most important thing to do is to make sure that the person you care about knows that they have a problem and that you are concerned. You can do this by talking to them, taking over financial management if necessary and by reaching out for professional help.

You can also help by providing emotional and practical support, recognizing that the problem isn’t their fault, and by seeking help yourself for any underlying mood disorders that are contributing to or making worse the gambling behavior. Family therapy, marriage, career and credit counseling are all useful tools in working through the specific issues that have been created or made worse by problem gambling. This can help you restore your relationships and rebuild your finances. In addition, learning healthier ways to manage unpleasant emotions and boredom can help you replace your gambling habit with more productive activities. These could include exercise, spending time with friends who don’t gamble and learning relaxation techniques. You might even consider joining a support group for gamblers anonymous, which is based on the 12-step model used by Alcoholics Anonymous.

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