Day: May 9, 2023

Gambling is an activity where people risk something of value, such as money or property, in order to win a prize. This can be done on a computer, tablet or smartphone, or in person in a casino, bookmakers or bingo hall. The prize may be cash or something else of value, such as a holiday, concert tickets or a new television. Gambling is an addictive behaviour and can cause harm to individuals, their families, friends and the wider community. This is because gambling can damage a person’s physical and mental health, affect their relationships, work or study performance and leave them in serious debt with creditors and potentially homeless. It can also lead to suicide. It is estimated that more than 400 people take their lives each year because of problem gambling. In the UK, over half of adults gamble regularly but for some it becomes a problematic habit that can be harmful to their health and wellbeing, leading to debt and financial problems and impacting on family and friends. There are many different types of gambling, from scratchcards and fruit machines to more formal gambling such as betting with friends. Some forms of gambling are based on chance, such as rolling a die or spinning a wheel, while others involve skill or decision making, such as betting on horse races or sports events. The concept of gambling can be complicated and is a subject matter of debate across disciplines. Some of the most difficult issues to address include the definition of harm, the breadth of experiences and sources of harm, and the influence of comorbidities such as alcohol misuse or depression. Harms from gambling have a wide variety of short and long-term financial, physical, emotional and cultural impacts on the gambler, their friends and family, and the wider community. The most commonly reported harms from gambling are loss of control, feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, increased stress, and depression. A gambling disorder is an impulse control disorder that causes significant difficulties in a person’s everyday life. People with a gambling disorder experience difficulty controlling their spending, time and/or emotions in relation to gambling, and find it hard to stop gambling even when they are experiencing negative consequences. It is important to recognise that gambling disorder can be treated. There are a number of therapies available, including cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), psychodynamic therapy and group therapy. It is also important to seek help early and to never stop trying. In DSM-5, gambling disorder has been moved from a sub-section on behavioral addictions to a more prominent position within the category of psychiatric disorders. This is because evidence shows that gambling disorder shares similarities with substance use disorders in terms of clinical expression, brain origin, comorbidity and treatment.

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