How to Help Someone With a Gambling Problem

Gambling occurs when you stake something of value on a random event with the possibility of winning a prize. This may include games like lottery, scratch cards, or sports betting. You can gamble in casinos, racetracks, and other places or online.

People can get addicted to gambling if they do not recognize it as a problem. Various factors can provoke problematic gambling, including the environment and underlying mental health issues. People can also be predisposed to gambling because of genetics or brain chemistry.

When you gamble, your brain releases dopamine, which makes you feel excited. This neurological response is similar to the effect of drugs, which can lead to addiction. People can also develop a gambling problem if they use gambling to relieve boredom, stress, or other unpleasant emotions. There are healthier ways to self-soothe unpleasant feelings, such as exercising, spending time with friends who don’t gamble, or practicing relaxation techniques.

You can help someone with a gambling problem by supporting them and limiting their access to money. Consider putting one person in charge of the family’s finances, removing credit cards from their possession, and limiting online betting activities. You can also encourage them to seek treatment for any underlying mood disorders that might be contributing to their behavior, such as depression or anxiety. Seeking therapy can help them change their thinking and behavioral patterns and overcome their cravings. For severe cases, inpatient and residential programs can provide round-the-clock support.