Gambling is an activity in which people stake something of value on a future event whose outcome is uncertain. This could be money, or even a valuable object like a car or a house. It can be done at casinos, racetracks or at home on the internet.
Risk is the one thing that all types of gambling have in common. The thrill of ‘taking a risk’ is what makes gambling so attractive, but odds are designed to work against you and the game is based on chance, rather than skill.
A person who engages in a form of gambling may have a problem with their gambling behaviour and should seek help from a professional. They might have a mood disorder, such as depression or stress, or they may be struggling with their finances or family relationships.
Psychiatrists have the skills to recognise when someone is in a problem with gambling and can offer them treatment or advice. There are criteria that they can use to identify a problem, including the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) or other guidelines.
They might also be able to identify a problem through the use of screening questionnaires. They can ask the person to answer a series of questions about their gambling habits.
The screening will give the psychiatrist an idea of whether they have a problem or not, and if they do then it will give them an opportunity to discuss it with them. In some cases, this can be enough to stop them pursuing their gambling.
It’s important to recognise that gambling can be addictive and the symptoms of this can include: – Needing to gamble with increasing amounts of money in order to achieve and desired excitement – Spending more time, money or effort on gambling than you can afford to – Making repeated unsuccessful attempts to control, cut back or stop – Preoccupation with gambling or chasing your losses by accelerating your involvement
A psychiatrist should consider offering a screen for problem gambling if they suspect a person has a gambling problem. This will reduce the resistance that might be present and will encourage them to talk about their gambling with you.
In addition to the benefits of reducing stress, treating a person’s gambling can also help them manage their other problems, such as underlying mental health issues. Psychiatrists should also help their patients set boundaries around the amount of money they spend on gambling.
They can also provide a referral for support, such as an addiction service or a peer group. This can be a crucial part of their recovery.
If you’re concerned that a loved one might be suffering from a gambling addiction, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today for free help and advice. Our experienced team can help you find the best option for you or a loved one, and we will be happy to explain all of our services in more detail.