Gambling As an Addiction
Gambling is a form of entertainment and it involves placing something of value (usually money) at risk on an event with a chance of winning a prize. This can be done with games like poker, bingo, horse racing, sports events, slot machines or even lotteries. It is also possible to gamble using online casino platforms.
Some people enjoy gambling for fun and the adrenaline rush of winning, whilst others can find it a way to escape from worries or stress. However, for some it becomes an addiction and can lead to serious financial harm. This can have a negative impact on personal relationships, work and education. It can also cause depression and anxiety, which can lead to suicide.
It’s important to remember that many people with a gambling problem don’t realise they have a problem until it’s too late. For some, it takes a financial crisis to wake them up and seek help. It’s also worth remembering that gambling is not a reliable source of income and should be budgeted as an expense, not as a way to make money.
People who gamble often start during childhood or adolescence, which increases their risk of developing a gambling disorder. Some people also develop gambling problems as a result of being exposed to family members who have a gambling problem, or as a result of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Personality traits and coexisting mood disorders, such as depression or anxiety, can also be a factor in the development of gambling disorder.
There are many things you can do to reduce the risk of gambling becoming an addiction. Try to only gamble with money you can afford to lose and set money and time limits for how long you will be gambling. Never chase your losses as this will usually lead to bigger losses. You can also try to avoid stressful situations and people that trigger your gambling behaviour. If you feel the urge to gamble, distract yourself with a different activity or walk away from the gambling venue.
A good treatment option for gambling disorder is cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). This helps individuals change their beliefs and thinking patterns around betting. For example, CBT can help individuals challenge their ideas that certain rituals will improve their chances of winning, or that they can win back any losses through continued betting.
There are many other ways to help someone with a gambling problem, including support groups, self-help tips and treatment options. If you’re concerned about a friend or family member, it’s helpful to know that they’re not alone and there are lots of ways they can get help. There are also organisations that can provide debt advice, such as StepChange. They can be contacted by phone or online. For more information on this article, see the ‘Sources’ section below. This page is updated regularly. Please contact us if you have any questions about the content. You can also check out the Gambling FAQs for more information.