Factors That Increase the Risk of Gambling Disorders


Gambling is a popular leisure activity that involves placing a bet on an outcome, such as the outcome of a sporting event or a lottery draw. It is a form of entertainment that provides an adrenaline rush and the potential to win money. However, like other addictions, gambling can have devastating consequences for the person who is addicted and their family. It can cause serious debt and health problems, ruin relationships, prevent people from working or studying, and even lead to homelessness. The first step towards recovering from a gambling disorder is admitting that there is a problem. Counselling can help people recognise and address the issues that contribute to gambling behaviours. It can also assist with other mood disorders such as depression or anxiety, which may be triggered or made worse by gambling.

Gambling can take many forms, from sports betting to slot machines and scratchcards. The most common reason for gambling is the desire to win money. This is why the odds are often displayed in large print at casinos and on sports betting sites, to make it easy for customers to see how much they stand to win. But it is important to remember that the odds are only one part of the picture, and that winning at gambling is a matter of chance.

Despite the risks, there are many people who enjoy gambling and do not have an addiction. For some, it is a way to relax and socialise with friends. Others find that it helps them to relieve boredom or stress, especially after a difficult day at work or following an argument with their partner. However, it is important to learn healthier ways to self-soothe unpleasant feelings and manage boredom or stress, such as exercising, spending time with friends who do not gamble, taking up new hobbies, and practicing relaxation techniques.

It is possible to get addicted to gambling regardless of your age, gender, or socioeconomic status. But there are also specific factors that increase the risk of developing a gambling disorder. These include:

Genetic predisposition: Some people are genetically predisposed to thrill-seeking behaviour and impulsivity, which can make it harder for them to control their emotions and weigh the risks of gambling. Early life experiences: Some people are more prone to gambling problems because of the influence of parents or other family members who have a history of problem gambling.

Environment and community: The availability of gambling venues, the social norms regarding gambling, and cultural influences can all affect people‚Äôs attitudes and behaviours towards gambling. For example, some communities have historically banned gambling and now only allow it on state-run ‘riverboats’ that are permanently moored in a body of water.

There are no FDA-approved medications to treat gambling disorders, but therapy and peer support can help. BetterHelp, an online therapy service, can match you with a therapist who has experience treating addictions, including gambling. Get started with a free assessment today. You could be matched with a therapist in as little as 48 hours.