How to Protect Yourself From Gambling Disorders


Whether it’s buying a Lotto ticket, betting on a horse race or spinning the pokies at the casino, gambling is a popular activity that can be a great source of entertainment. However, it’s important to be aware of the risks involved in gambling and how to protect yourself from harm.

Gambling involves risking something of value for the chance to win a prize, and it often includes a significant amount of money. Some forms of gambling involve skill, while others do not. However, even games that require a degree of skill can still be addictive and cause significant damage to your finances and relationships.

It’s not always easy to determine if you have a problem with gambling, but there are some symptoms that may indicate an addiction: you cannot control your urges to gamble despite the negative impact on your life; you spend more than you can afford to lose; you lie or hide your gambling habits from family members, friends, and co-workers; you use theft or fraud to fund your gambling habit; or you have lost significant financial, social, or career opportunities because of your gambling behavior. Mental health professionals have developed criteria to help identify when someone has a gambling disorder. These are outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), which is used by professionals to diagnose psychological disorders.

People gamble for a variety of reasons, from boosting their mood to dreaming about a large jackpot win. In some cases, gambling is used to distract from stressful or painful life events. For some people, it can also be a way to meet new people and build friendships.

Many people start by deciding how much they want to bet and then setting limits for themselves. However, it’s important to remember that gambling is not a reliable way to make money and should be considered an expense rather than an investment. Moreover, you should never borrow to gamble, and you should always be sure to leave the casino when you reach your limit.

Lastly, it’s important to avoid gambling when you’re feeling down or depressed, as this can make it harder to resist the urge to gamble. In addition, seek therapy or rehab if your compulsive gambling is causing you to miss out on activities that are important to you, such as family and work. In addition to individual and group counseling, you can also seek family therapy and marriage, career, or credit counseling. These can help you address the specific problems that your gambling has created and lay the foundation for long-term recovery. In some cases, people with a serious gambling disorder need residential treatment or inpatient rehabilitation programs. These can provide round-the-clock support and help you overcome your addiction to gambling. Eventually, you’ll be able to enjoy gambling without putting your life and relationships at risk.