Gambling Disorder

While most people who gamble experience no problems, a small number develop gambling disorder. The condition is characterized by persistent, recurrent and excessive gambling. It is defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Fifth Edition) as a pattern of gambling that causes substantial distress or impairment.

People who suffer from gambling disorder can have a variety of symptoms, including denial, rage, depression and anxiety. They may also have difficulty sleeping and eating, or have withdrawal symptoms when they stop gambling. Some people become so addicted that they are unable to work or take care of themselves. Others lose their home and family. Some even attempt suicide. Gambling disorders can affect people from all backgrounds, races and religions and occur in cities or rural areas, rich or poor. It can be hard to find help for problem gambling, but there are many options.

Generally, people gamble for one of four reasons: for money (or the dream of winning), to change their mood, to socialize or to get a rush. The reasons are different for everyone, but they can include stress, boredom or a desire to escape from problems and worries.

If you are struggling with a gambling addiction, seek help from a doctor or therapist. Ask for support from friends and family, or consider joining a support group like Gamblers Anonymous, which is similar to Alcoholics Anonymous. In addition, try to occupy your time with other activities that are stimulating and rewarding.

Posted in: Gambling