Gambling is when you risk money or other things of value on a game or event that involves chance. It can be fun to gamble but it can also harm your health, relationships and work or study performance. It can also leave you with serious debts and even put you in danger of homelessness.
It can be a normal part of life for many people, but it can become a problem if you or someone you know is gambling too much or in a harmful way. This can affect your physical and mental health, relationships, study or work performance and can lead to problems with the law. It can cause debt, homelessness and even suicide.
If you’re a gambler, it’s important to know how to recognise the signs and symptoms of gambling addiction. Treatment may include therapy, medication and lifestyle changes to help you stop gambling.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for gambling addiction focuses on changing your unhealthy gambling behaviors and thoughts, such as impulsiveness or false beliefs that trigger gambling urges. CBT can teach you how to stop gambling and improve your financial, work and relationship status.
The DSM-IV defines pathological gambling as a compulsion that interferes with daily functioning and causes serious harm to your finances, relationships, work or study. It can also cause you to lie about your gambling to cover up your losses and spend more than you earn.
A number of factors can make it hard to avoid gambling, such as social pressures, a desire to win or feel good about yourself, and a tendency towards risk taking. It is possible to control these urges by learning to cope with unpleasant emotions in healthier ways, or to reduce your risk of winning money by choosing safer, less costly games.
When you’re feeling bored or lonely, it can be easy to get stuck in a cycle of self-soothing and gambling. It’s important to find healthier ways to relieve these feelings, such as spending time with friends who don’t gamble, taking up new hobbies or practicing relaxation techniques.
In some cases, you might have an underlying mental health problem such as depression or anxiety that makes it more difficult for you to resist the temptation to gamble. Talk to your GP or other healthcare professional about this and what treatment might be appropriate for you.
There are different types of gambling, each with its own risks and rewards. It is important to understand how each works before you start gambling.
It’s a great idea to plan a budget before you start gambling so that you don’t end up losing all your money. If you’re unsure about how to budget for your gambling, you can speak to a trained gambling advisor or ask for support from a charity or local support group.
You can also talk to your family or friends about your gambling if they are worried about it. If you’re concerned about someone else, speak to the Gambling Helpline, who can give you information and advice.