What Makes Some People More Vulnerable to Gambling Disorders?

Whether it’s placing a bet, buying a lottery ticket, or playing video poker, most people gamble at some point in their lives. While most people who gamble do so without any problems, a subset of those who start gambling develop a problem that leads to distress and impairment. Understanding what makes some people more vulnerable to developing a gambling disorder may help guide prevention and treatment strategies.

Gambling is betting or wagering something of value on an event with uncertain outcome with the primary intent to win additional money or material goods. It includes activities like lotteries, casino games, sports betting, and online gambling. In order for an activity to be considered gambling, it must have three elements: consideration, risk, and a prize.

In order to reduce the chance of gambling becoming problematic, people should set time and money limits before they start gambling. They should also ensure that they only gamble with disposable income and not money that is needed to pay bills or rent. They should also avoid chasing losses, as this can lead to bigger losses. In addition, they should balance gambling with other activities, such as family, friends, work, or hobbies.

Those who are struggling with gambling addiction can get help by seeking professional therapy. There are many options for counseling, such as individual and group therapy, marriage and family counseling, and financial management services. These services can help address the specific issues that are causing the person to gamble and lay the foundation for a healthy relationship with money and an addiction-free lifestyle.