How to Recognise When Your Loved One is Gambling Excessively
Gambling is the wagering of something of value on a random event, with the intent to win something of value. The event may be a sporting event, a lottery draw, a casino game, or a scratchcard. A winning bet must have three elements: consideration, risk, and a prize. A prize can be monetary or non-monetary.
While the term gambling is often used to refer to games of chance, it also includes activities such as horse racing and lotteries. Some forms of gambling are illegal in some jurisdictions, but others have become highly regulated and legalized.
The practice of gambling is very widespread. It occurs in places such as casinos, racetracks, and online. It also happens in other places, such as bars, churches, and sporting events. It is important to understand how gambling works to prevent harmful behaviours from developing.
Research has shown that there are a variety of factors that can influence an individual’s propensity for gambling behaviour. These include genetic predisposition, neurological differences in how the brain processes rewards and impulse control, and a combination of environmental and psychological variables.
Many people who gamble do not have a problem. However, for some people gambling can be a dangerous and addictive behaviour. There are a number of warning signs that someone is gambling too much, including:
A person who gambles excessively can experience a range of problems. These may include:
Trying to overcome a gambling disorder can be challenging, but there are a range of treatments available. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), psychodynamic therapy, and group therapies are all used in the treatment of gambling disorders. The type of therapy you choose will depend on your personal needs and the type of gambling behavior that is causing you problems.
It is also important to remember that your loved one did not choose to gamble, nor did they cause the problem themselves. They may have started gambling for a variety of reasons, such as to pass the time, for socializing, or for coping with other problems in their life. These are not good reasons to keep gambling, but they can help you understand why your loved one continues to gamble and how they might be able to stop.
The term “disordered gambling” is used to describe a spectrum of gambling behaviors, from those that pose only a modest risk for harm to those that meet diagnostic criteria in the fourth edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV). A common strategy for avoiding laws that prohibit or limit gambling is to locate gambling establishments just outside a jurisdiction’s boundaries, on ships that sail off territorial waters, or in states with less restrictive regulatory standards. Other strategies include lying to family members, therapists, and employers in order to conceal the extent of their involvement with gambling; committing illegal acts, such as forgery or theft, in order to finance gambling; jeopardizing a relationship, job, educational, or career opportunity; or relying on others to provide money to manage financial situations caused by gambling (American Psychiatric Association, 2000). The use of longitudinal data allows researchers to follow a group of participants over time to better understand the onset, development, and maintenance of both normative and pathological gambling behavior. Longitudinal data also help researchers to identify specific factors that moderate and exacerbate gambling participation.