Gambling – Is it a Problem?

Gambling involves risking something of value on an event that is at least partially determined by chance in the hope of winning something else of value. This is different from games of skill such as basketball or tennis where the outcome depends on a player’s abilities.

When people think of gambling they often picture slot machines or casinos. But gambling can include playing bingo, buying lottery or scratch tickets, placing bets on office pools or even betting on sports events online. It is important to understand that gambling can be a problem when the activity begins to negatively impact a person’s finances, work performance, school or social relationships.

In the past, gamblers were thought to move along a continuum from normal recreational gambling to pathological gambling, with each level of difficulty requiring more intense treatment. Today, however, it is commonly believed that a person who develops a gambling problem will not return to normal levels of gambling, even after treatment.

The most common sign of a problem is feeling an overwhelming urge to gamble, especially when the desire to gamble interferes with a person’s day-to-day activities and causes other problems such as stress, depression or financial difficulties. It is also common for someone who has a gambling problem to experience feelings of guilt and shame about their behavior, which can lead to isolation.

If you or a loved one is struggling with gambling addiction, get help now. BetterHelp is an online therapy service that matches you with licensed, accredited therapists who can help with problem gambling, anxiety and more. Start by taking our assessment and get matched in as little as 48 hours.