Gambling is an activity where a person bets on the outcome of a game or event that involves chance. It can take place in casinos, online, or privately. The outcome of a gambling event can vary from a small prize to life-changing jackpots. Some forms of gambling are illegal, while others are legal and regulated. Problem gambling is when the behavior becomes addictive and results in severe financial and social problems.
It is important to talk to your loved one about the issue of gambling. It is also important to help them find treatment for this disorder. This can include calling a gambling helpline, getting therapy with a mental health professional, or joining a support group such as Gamblers Anonymous.
While many people gamble in a recreational way, there is a significant subset that develops a gambling disorder. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders defines this condition as a recurrent pattern of gambling that causes distress or impairment. A person with this condition will often lie about their gambling habits, beg or steal money to fund their habit, and may even jeopardize their relationship, job, or education in order to gamble.
The best thing you can do for a loved one with a gambling disorder is to support their recovery efforts. This means helping them set boundaries in managing their money, such as closing credit cards and limiting the amount of cash they keep on hand. It is also helpful to seek treatment for any underlying mood disorders, such as depression, stress, or anxiety.