Gambling Disorders – How to Identify a Gambling Disorder

Gambling involves risking something of value on an event that is primarily dependent on chance, such as the roll of a dice or the outcome of a horse race. It has existed in virtually every society since prerecorded history, often in the form of a game or as part of a local custom or rite of passage. It may provide an escape from daily stressors or social connections, as well as the thrill of winning money. However, it is possible to become addicted to gambling and experience a variety of negative personal, family, and financial consequences as a result.

Although most individuals who gamble participate in the activity for enjoyment, a small number of people become excessively involved and develop gambling disorder, which is classified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) as an addiction.1

There are a number of factors that contribute to the development of gambling disorders, including genetics, environmental influences, and psychological and neurological factors. For example, some individuals may have an underactive brain reward system, which can lead to impulsivity and a tendency to chase losses.2

Identifying a problem with gambling is the first step toward recovery. If you are worried that you or someone you know has a gambling addiction, BetterHelp can help. We’ll match you with a licensed, accredited therapist who can help you overcome this difficult habit and rebuild your life. Take our assessment and get matched with a therapist in as little as 48 hours.