Gambling involves risking something of value on a random event that can be determined by chance. It can take place in a variety of ways, from placing bets on football matches to scratchcards and fruit machines. When gamblers win, they receive money or goods as a prize. However, when they lose, they will have lost the money or other assets they put at risk. People who are addicted to gambling may engage in compulsive behaviour that negatively impacts their lives. Symptoms of gambling addiction can include missing work or school to spend time at the casino or online, lying about their activities and spending more than they can afford. It can also lead to strained or broken relationships with family and friends.
Admitting that you have a problem is the first step to getting help. This can be difficult, particularly if the addiction has cost you a lot of money and caused damage to your relationships. But if you can acknowledge that you have a gambling addiction, you can take steps to overcome it. The Better Health Channel explains that there are many options for treatment and support.
You can try to control your gambling by setting limits on how much you spend and how long you gamble for. It is important to make a budget before you start gambling and stick to it. Try not to use credit cards for gambling, and never borrow money to gamble. Also, be sure to fill your spare time with other healthy activities. Hobbies, like reading, sports and socialising with friends, can be a good substitute for gambling. They are enjoyable, provide an outlet and generate endorphins that can give you a natural high.
If you can’t stop gambling, it could be a sign that you have an underlying mental health issue. People with depression, anxiety or other mental illnesses are more at risk of harmful gambling. They might gamble to try to feel better about themselves, or to distract themselves from feelings of sadness or anger. In addition, they might be trying to cope with a financial crisis. In this case, it’s important to get free debt advice from StepChange.
One of the main problems with gambling is that it takes away our ability to make rational choices. Having a gambling problem can impair your decision-making and judgment, making it more likely that you will make poor decisions and get into debt. Moreover, there is a link between depression and suicide. If you are having suicidal thoughts, call 999 or go to A&E immediately.
Some forms of treatment are more effective than others, but in general it is important to find an experienced therapist to treat your gambling addiction. You can search for a therapist near you using Counselling Directory or contact your insurance provider for a recommendation. Some treatment approaches involve cognitive behavioural therapy, which can teach you to recognise the triggers of your gambling habits and replace them with more positive, productive ones. Other treatments focus on changing the way you think about your gambling, and some involve medication.