How Gambling Affects People With Gambling Disorders


For some people gambling can be an enjoyable pastime, but for others it can have serious detrimental effects on their physical and mental health, relationships with family and friends, performance at work or study and even get them into trouble with the law. It can also lead to severe debt and homelessness. In addition, underlying mood disorders such as depression and anxiety can be made worse by compulsive gambling.

The definition of gambling is betting something of value on an event whose outcome depends on luck and chance. This includes betting on sports events, but can also include buying scratchcards or games of chance like lottery and bingo. Some governments ban gambling or heavily control it by licensing the vendors and imposing taxes. This creates a close link between the government and gambling organisations and can lead to ‘gambling tourism’, where people travel to countries where gambling is legal in order to bet.

In many cases, the outcome of gambling events depends on luck and chance, but there are some situations in which gamblers can learn to be more informed. For example, when a gambler buys a ticket to a football match or buys a scratchcard they choose the outcome of the event they are betting on, which is then matched to odds set by the company (eg 5/1 or 2/1), determining how much money they could win. Often, the odds on scratchcards aren’t as obvious as those on football matches.

A lot of people use gambling to escape from their problems or to feel good about themselves. They may use it as a form of escapism, to relieve boredom or stress, or for a sense of excitement and adventure. While these reasons don’t excuse a person who is addicted to gambling, they do help to understand why they bet and how gambling affects them.

People with a gambling disorder are likely to lie to their families and friends about how much they spend or lose, hiding evidence from them and pretending not to be playing. Some are impulsive and have difficulty controlling their emotions and behaviour, making it difficult to recognise that they have a problem and get help.

A number of effective treatments are available for those with a gambling disorder and it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible. In addition to medical and psychological support, many organisations offer help and advice to people with a gambling problem. It is a good idea to check out these services before talking to someone about their gambling, as they will be better equipped to offer advice and assistance. They will also be able to provide information about local resources that are available to help people with gambling problems.