• Home
  • Gambling Disorder

Gambling Disorder

Gambling involves risking money or something of value on the outcome of a chance event, such as a sports game or scratchcard. You make a choice to bet on an event, and then the odds are calculated (for example, 5/1 or 2/1 for a football match). If you win, you get the money you bet. If you lose, you forfeit the money.

People with gambling disorder can’t control their urges and keep trying to gamble, even when they’re losing a lot of money. They often hide their gambling from family and friends or lie about it. They also have trouble controlling their spending and may spend more than they can afford to lose. They might feel compelled to gamble in secret, thinking that others won’t understand and that they will surprise them with a big win. They might try to recoup losses by increasing their bets, a behavior known as chasing or upping their losses.

The risk of developing a gambling disorder increases with age and can run in families. It is more common among men than women, and symptoms can begin in adolescence or early adulthood. It can also be triggered by other mood disorders, such as depression or stress, and make those problems worse. People with a gambling disorder can benefit from several types of therapy, including cognitive behavioral therapy and psychodynamic therapy. They can also benefit from support groups, such as Gamblers Anonymous, which is based on the 12-step model used by Alcoholics Anonymous.