Gambling is an activity where people risk money or belongings in the hope of winning. It can be done in casinos, lotteries, private settings or online. Some gambling is legal, while others are prohibited or restricted in certain countries. It can also be a source of serious mental health problems, relationship stress and even suicide.
Some forms of gambling are considered addictive, such as the use of a drug, alcohol or video game. These addictive behaviours can be triggered by mood disorders, such as depression, anxiety or stress. It is important to seek help for any underlying issues that may be contributing to your gambling habits, such as therapy or counselling.
Many people gamble at some point in their life, whether it’s buying a lottery ticket, placing bets on horse racing or football accumulators, or using the pokies. Gambling is a global industry that contributes to economies and societies, but it can also be harmful to people’s physical and mental health and create financial hardship.
A problem with gambling can cause significant harm to a person’s family, friends, work and social life. It can interfere with work and study, damage relationships and leave someone in debt and even homeless. It can affect self-esteem and lead to feelings of shame, guilt and anxiety.
Some of the most common symptoms of a gambling addiction include:
Having trouble thinking about anything else apart from gambling. Continual lying to those close to you about how much you’re spending on gambling. Being unable to stop gambling, even when you’re losing a lot of money. Having to gamble for more and more money just to keep feeling the same buzz. Having thoughts of “I’m going to get my money back” or “just one more bet”.
The biggest step in overcoming a gambling problem is admitting you have a problem. This can be hard, especially if you’ve lost a lot of money or damaged relationships, but it’s the first step towards getting help.
A person can overcome a gambling problem by taking control of their finances, setting limits and avoiding triggers. Setting time and money limits, reducing access to credit cards and limiting time spent at gambling venues are all good ways to reduce the temptation to gamble. It’s also important to not gamble when you’re depressed or upset, and never to chase your losses. The more you try to win back your money, the more likely you are to make bigger losses in the long run. Also, it’s a good idea to find a new hobby or social activity to replace gambling. If you think your gambling is out of control, talk to a counsellor – it’s free and confidential.