What Are the Signs and Symptoms of a Gambling Disorder?

Gambling is a social activity where individuals place a wager for the outcome of a game. It can include card games like poker or blackjack, dice games, and other activities that involve placing a bet for the outcome of an event. People often engage in gambling as a recreational and social activity, but some people develop a problem with it. Those who have a problem with gambling are characterized by a number of signs and symptoms, including:

Having a good understanding of what triggers your urge to gamble is important for managing your addiction. For example, some problem gamblers are more likely to gamble when they are in a social situation with friends, or when they have consumed alcohol, as these can lower inhibitions and increase risk-taking behavior. Keeping a gambling journal where you write down your thoughts, feelings and situations that make you want to gamble can help you identify these triggers.

Many individuals who have a gambling disorder find it difficult to stop engaging in the activity, even when it has a negative impact on their lives. They may not be able to stop despite negative consequences, such as losing money, and they can also experience depression or other mental health problems. These can make the lows from gambling even worse, which can lead to a cycle of excessive gambling.

In extreme cases, this can lead to suicidal feelings and behaviours, and it is therefore vital that anyone who has these experiences seeks professional treatment as soon as possible. Support groups are available and NHS helpline numbers are listed below for further information.

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