Recognising Gambling Harm


Gambling is an activity in which people place bets on the outcome of a game or event. It can be legal or illegal and involves making a wager on a number or series of events, such as a football match or horse race. It is an activity that requires skill and luck, as well as a desire to win. Some people can gamble without harming themselves or others; however, some become addicted to gambling and suffer serious consequences, including family problems, financial loss, loss of employment, and mental health issues.

The behaviour of a person who has a gambling problem can be difficult to recognise. They may lie about how much they are gambling or even hide money from other members of the family. They can also spend a lot of time gambling and neglect other activities, work or relationships. They may also start to steal or borrow to fund their gambling habit and have difficulty stopping or cutting back on their gambling.

It is important for loved ones to realise that the person suffering from harmful gambling cannot be forced to change their behaviour. They need to care for themselves and seek support from friends and family. A counsellor who understands gambling harm can provide a safe environment for a discussion about the situation.

Those who are addicted to gambling often feel the need to keep their gambling habits secret, believing that others won’t understand or that they will be surprised by a big win. This can lead to secrecy, lying and a lack of trust in their families and friends. It can also cause a lot of stress for everyone involved.

While it is important to recognise the symptoms of gambling addiction, it’s also essential to have a plan in place to overcome the problem. Some people who have a gambling disorder are able to stop their gambling behaviour on their own, while others require professional help. Some common treatments for gambling disorders include cognitive behavioral therapy, which teaches the person how to change unhealthy thoughts and behaviors, manage triggers, and resist urges to gamble. Medication is also sometimes used to treat co-occurring conditions like depression and anxiety.

If you or a loved one is struggling with harmful gambling, you can get help and support from family and friends, as well as professionals who understand gambling harm. It’s also a good idea to try and find ways to distract yourself from the gambling behaviour, such as spending time with other people, doing hobbies, getting regular exercise, having a healthy diet, and resting properly. It’s also a good idea for loved ones to consider relationship counselling and mediation.