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Gambling Disorder

Sports betting is a popular part of our culture. Sports are so ingrained in our society that adding a monetary benefit to the experience is inevitably enticing. "My team gets to win, and I get paid money! This sounds great!" A problem can arise when the prospect of sports betting becomes more enticing than watching the sports themselves, and the focus on betting leads to issues in other areas of one's life.

Gambling Disorder is a mental health diagnosis that is marked by continuous problematic behavior related to gambling which leads to clinically significant impairment or distress.

Clinically significant impairment or distress can be defined as dysfunction, discomfort, or disruption in the various aspects of one's life. These issues can stem from personal, psychological, emotional, occupational, and relational concerns.

These concerns can be persistent or recurrent and can vary in magnitude. The severity of the disorder is determined by the number of symptoms one exhibits within a 12-month period. There are 9 symptoms that must fall under 2 main parameters. The first parameter is that symptoms must occur within the 12-month period. The second parameter is that the symptoms must not be better explained by a manic episode.

Some signs that a person may have issues with gambling can include: chasing losses, gambling higher amounts of money to chase feelings of excitement, superstitious beliefs, denial, lying about gambling habits, relying on others for money to gamble, being overly preoccupied with gambling, and struggles to stop gambling.

Gambling disorder does not always stop at sports betting. Gambling disorder can likely be related to health problems such as alcohol/substance abuse, anxiety, depression, and overall poor physical health. Gambling disorder is also more likely if you have primary family members who also struggled with poor gambling habits.

If you or someone you know might struggle with a gambling disorder, it is imperative that you seek help and guidance to manage the symptoms and the residual effects this may have in your life. Speaking with a licensed therapist can help begin the trajectory toward a place of healing and freedom from these harmful habits.

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