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Gambling Disorders

Gambling is betting something of value on an uncertain event with awareness of the risk of losing it. This can involve any form of bet, from lottery tickets and the wagering of small amounts by people who have little to no money, to sophisticated casino gambling based on skills and knowledge of game odds. Although gambling is a common pastime for many people, it is not considered a socially admirable activity and can lead to crime (for example, blackmail).

The behaviours associated with gambling often occur in isolation from family and friends. This can make it difficult to recognise a problem, especially as people may try to hide their spending or lying about how much time they are spending on gambling activities.

People who spend large amounts of their own money on gambling often become dependent on it and develop a gambling disorder. This can lead to a number of health and social problems, including debt, relationship difficulties, poor work or study performance and even homelessness. It can also cause damage to the family, as children of gamblers are more likely to experience neglect and abuse.

It is possible to recover from a gambling disorder, although it can take some time. Counselling can help people understand their gambling and think about how it affects them and their families. It can also help them consider alternatives and solve problems. Medications are rarely used in the treatment of gambling disorders, but can be helpful for treating co-occurring conditions such as depression or anxiety.