Gambling is an activity where someone risks money or belongings, with the intention of gaining something of value. This can be in the form of betting, gaming or speculation on business, insurance or stock markets.
Gambling can be addictive and have many negative consequences, including financial difficulties. It can also be a sign of other underlying problems such as depression, stress, substance abuse or anxiety.
Typically, people who are prone to gambling problems start to gamble in their childhood or teens. However, older adults can have a problem as well.
Risk factors for gambling disorder include trauma, social inequality, and family history of a gambling problem. Some people who are at risk may not even realize they have a problem until it has become severe.
Denial keeps people with gambling disorders in denial and makes them more likely to continue to gamble even when they are struggling financially. The best way to overcome a gambling problem is to admit that it is happening and ask for help.
Be aware of the warning signs and symptoms of gambling disorders so you can seek help. These include:
Increasing money for gambling; feeling a need to spend more than you can afford; losing control over your finances; and having to borrow or sell things to pay for gambling debts.
In addition, people who have a gambling problem often feel pushed to use credit cards or steal money for gambling. These are not good habits for anyone to have. They can lead to serious debts and financial instability.