Gambling is an activity in which people risk something of value on an event whose outcome is uncertain in order to win something else of value. This can be money or a physical prize. It’s often seen as a fun, social activity and it offers an adrenaline rush when things are going your way. It can also lead to mental health issues and problems with relationships. People with gambling disorders can be at risk of homelessness, legal problems and suicide. Over half the UK population takes part in some form of gambling activity. It can be enjoyable for some but for others it can harm their health and well-being, interfere with work, family and friends and affect their performance at school or at work. Problem gambling can also cause serious financial difficulties, debt and even bankruptcy.
Research has shown that gambling is an addictive behaviour and can cause psychological, emotional and behavioural problems. It can be difficult to stop gambling and it is important to seek help if you think you may have a problem. Treatments for gambling addiction include cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), psychodynamic therapy and group therapy. Some people with gambling disorder may need family therapy. Some individuals with gambling disorders may start gambling at a young age and symptoms can appear as early as adolescence or as late as later adulthood. Certain factors such as trauma and social inequality can be risk factors for developing a gambling disorder.
It is important to balance gambling with other activities and only gamble with disposable income. It’s a good idea to set a time limit before gambling and leave the casino or betting shop when you reach this limit, whether you are winning or losing. It is also a good idea not to gamble while depressed or upset and to avoid chasing losses, as chances are that you will lose more in the long run.
It is a good idea to stay away from gambling sites and social media while you’re trying to recover from a gambling disorder. Instead, try a hobby or activity you enjoy and focus on other areas of your life. You can also talk to someone about your problems, ask for help or get non-judgemental support from a GamCare helpline. Some people can manage to control their gambling and some may be able to stop altogether, but for most it’s a difficult habit to break. Only one in ten people with gambling disorders receives treatment. If you’re worried about your or a loved one’s gambling, get in touch with us today. The more you know about gambling, the better decisions you’ll make. This includes knowing about the different types of gambling and how they differ. It’s a complex issue, but it’s vital to understand your own behaviour and those of the people around you. This can help you avoid a gambling disorder in the future. The good news is that there are lots of helpful resources and organisations available to you.