Warning Signs That Gambling Has Become a Problem


Gambling is an activity in which a person risks money or something else of value (such as a car, home, or family vacation) on an uncertain event, outcome or contest. It is considered a form of recreation, entertainment and is regulated by law in most jurisdictions. It can also be conducted with objects that have a material value but are not money, such as marbles or collectible game pieces in games like Pogs and Magic: The Gathering. In the United States, gambling is a major industry that is regulated at the state and federal levels.

Some people can gamble without problems, but others become addicted and have trouble quitting the habit. The reason for this is that gambling triggers a reward response in the brain, which can cause an individual to lose control over their actions. This can affect their mental and physical health, relationships, work or school performance, finances, ability to sleep and may even lead to criminal activity and bankruptcy.

Many people find it difficult to stop gambling, and they often have a difficult time understanding how they got into the problem. Fortunately, there are several warning signs that can help someone recognize whether their gambling has become a problem. These include:

There are a number of reasons why gambling becomes addictive, and each person is different. Nevertheless, there are some common features that people who are struggling with problem gambling share. These include: an early big win, a focus on the size of the wins, boredom susceptibility, impulsivity, a poor understanding of random events and use of escape coping. These factors can combine to keep a person stuck in a cycle of gambling, where they expect to replicate their early big win, but fail to understand that each new attempt is an independent event with the same odds of winning.

In addition, research has shown that people who are more prone to addiction have genetic or biological predispositions that make them more likely to engage in risky activities. They also have difficulty controlling their impulses, which makes it harder for them to evaluate the long-term effects of their decisions. They often have a low level of activation in the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for inhibiting impulsive behaviors.

In order to protect individuals from the harmful effects of gambling, it is important that professionals who work with vulnerable people have appropriate training in this area. Our range of Safeguarding Courses can provide this, covering everything from Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults to Safeguarding Children.