Anyone can experience harms related to gambling. Gambling disorder can arise at any age, in any gender, and to people from any ethnic background. Studies have shown that you are more likely to experience gambling disorder if you have a family history, or if you started gambling at an early age. You can find out more about young people and gambling here. The disorder is also more common in people with certain underlying health issues – for example, gambling disorder is seven times more common in people with Parkinson’s disease than the general population. The Royal College of Physicians has produced guidance and advice for doctors and people with Parkinson’s disease here.
Gambling disorder has been called the 'hidden addiction', meaning that unlike other addictions such as alcohol or drug addiction, the physical effects of gambling addiction are very difficult to see. You are unlikely to know that someone is experiencing difficulty controlling their gambling unless they tell you.
The impact of someone else’s gambling can be very stressful for friends and family members. GambleAware® offer support to anyone struggling with a loved one’s gambling. Find out how to talk to someone about their gambling here, or call the National Gambling Helpline to receive support and access free, confidential counselling.