Problem Gambling


Gambling is an activity that involves wagering something of value (money or material goods) on an event whose outcome is determined by chance. It is often based on a perceived need for an adrenaline rush, socialising and an escape from worries and stress. However, it can lead to serious harm. Some people can become unable to control their gambling behaviour and end up destroying their lives. These are known as problem gamblers and may need professional help.

Problem gambling can affect people from all backgrounds and at any age. Men are more vulnerable to gambling problems, but women can also develop them. Some people have a genetic predisposition to developing them, and studies of identical twins suggest that they can also run in families. Problem gambling is becoming more prevalent among young people, who can be drawn to it by social media, online games and mobile apps that offer micro-transactions and payments. Young people are also increasingly attracted to video games that are designed like gambling, such as those in the Assassin’s Creed or Call of Duty series (Nature Human Behaviour, 2018).

It is important to recognise when you have a problem with gambling and seek help for it. There is lots of support available, including treatment, self-help tips and family therapy. You can also find a therapist through BetterHelp, an online service that matches you with accredited therapists who specialise in depression and relationships. It takes courage to admit you have a problem, but many people have overcome it and rebuilt their lives.