Gambling Problems

Gambling is part of human nature – it’s hard to resist the lure of rolling the dice, throwing the cards, pulling the lever of a slot machine or pressing the button on a lottery ticket. But it’s possible to get carried away, to lose control and end up with serious consequences – whether they are financial, personal or emotional. These problems can strain relationships, make work difficult and even lead to stealing money to fund the habit. In the worst cases, they can kill you.

People with gambling problems often have irrational beliefs, including the belief that they are due for a big win or will recoup their losses. They also tend to be impulsive and find it hard to resist the urge to gamble again after a loss or string of losses. The behaviour can also be triggered by a range of factors including the size of an early big win, boredom susceptibility, a poor understanding of random events, escape coping and stressful life experiences.

The irrational beliefs and impulsive behaviours associated with gambling are complex, but they can be effectively treated through cognitive-behaviour therapy which teaches the person to recognise their irrational thinking and retrain themselves. Other interventions include family therapy and support groups. A good way to manage gambling is to allocate a set amount of disposable income for it and stick to that limit. Casinos are generally free of clocks and windows, which makes it easy to get carried away and lose track of time.