Gambling Disorder

Gambling is the act of risking something of value (money, goods or services) for the possibility of gaining something else of value (a positive expectable value). It may be a form of recreation and entertainment for some individuals. The media often portrays gambling as a glamorous, fun and exciting activity. However, like any activity it can be abused and lead to problems.

Problem gambling is often referred to as “gambling addiction,” or “gambling disorder.” It is a mental health condition, and it can cause significant damage to a person’s family, relationships and finances. Gambling disorder can be difficult to recognize and treat, but help is available.

The brain produces dopamine, the feel-good neurotransmitter, when you win. This can cause you to believe that you are going to get lucky again and recoup your losses, even after a large loss. This is a common mistake called “chasing losses.” It almost always results in further losses and can be extremely dangerous.

Set a limit for how much you can comfortably lose and stick to it. Balance your recreational gambling with other activities and interests. Consider removing betting apps from your phone and laptop to prevent access. Strengthen your support network by spending time with friends who do not gamble. Consider joining a peer support group like Gamblers Anonymous, which is based on the 12-step model of Alcoholics Anonymous and has a focus on recovery from problem gambling. Talk with a counselor or therapist about your gambling habits.