What Makes Some People Vulnerable to Gambling Disorder?

Gambling involves wagering something of value on an event with an uncertain outcome in order to win a prize. There are many types of gambling, from lottery tickets and slot machines to card games and casino games. While most people who gamble do not experience problems, a significant subset develops gambling disorder, which is classified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) as a compulsive behavior. Understanding what makes some people vulnerable to gambling disorder can help with prevention and treatment.

Some people may find a thrill from gambling, but it is important to remember that the odds of winning are always against you. When you gamble, it is important to have a set amount of money to spend, and to stop as soon as that amount is gone. It is also a good idea to never gamble with money that you need to pay bills or rent, and to only play when you are feeling calm.

Despite its illegality in some countries, gambling has become a major international commercial activity. The global legal gambling market was estimated to be worth $335 billion in 2009, and is expected to double by 2020. While gambling is not a major cause of crime, it can contribute to social instability and can lead to financial difficulties. It is also important to note that many gambling-related disorders are caused by underlying mood conditions, such as depression, anxiety, or substance abuse, which can be exacerbated by gambling.

The vast majority of gambling is done through casinos, racetracks, and bingo halls, but it can also be done online. In addition, some people place bets on events that are not formally organized, such as the results of a sporting event or political contest. These informal bets are sometimes known as matched betting.

Although there is no evidence that any particular type of gambling is more addictive than others, the risk of developing a problem with any form of gambling can vary from person to person. Certain groups of people are more susceptible to addiction than others, including those with lower incomes who have more to lose and those who start gambling at a young age. The occurrence of gambling-related disorders is also increased by the presence of other emotional and behavioral disorders, such as anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder.

The first step to overcoming a gambling addiction is admitting that you have a problem. While this can be a difficult step, it is essential to your long-term recovery. If you are struggling with a gambling addiction, seek help from an experienced therapist. BetterHelp is an online therapy service that matches you with licensed therapists who can help you with your gambling addiction and other issues like depression, stress, and relationships. Get started by taking our short assessment. It only takes a few minutes, and you could be matched with a therapist in as little as 48 hours. Start your recovery today!