Gambling is the act of betting or staking money or other valuables on an event that has an element of chance. The aim is to win more than you have risked, whether it’s on a fruit machine, scratch card, poker or a casino game.
Many people gamble for fun, but it can also be an addictive disorder. The problem can affect your mental health, relationships and performance at work or study. It can also lead to debt and homelessness, and even suicide.
The problem is often triggered by an underlying mood disorder, such as depression or stress. It’s important to seek treatment if gambling is causing problems for you or your family.
You may want to stop gambling altogether if it is having a negative impact on your life. The best way to do this is to find support and build a strong network. Reach out to friends and family, if you have them, or join a peer support group such as Gamblers Anonymous.
Make a plan to stop gambling and set a limit on how much you can spend. This helps to keep you on track, and gives you an incentive to stick with it.
Learn to relieve unpleasant feelings in healthier ways, such as exercising or spending time with friends who do not gamble. This will help you relax and feel more comfortable.
Avoid risky forms of gambling, such as putting money on horse races or playing slots, because the odds are usually stacked against you. Instead, look for games that offer more in the way of skill.
Take a break from gambling once you’ve reached your limit and try to find an alternative activity or hobby that you enjoy. This will reduce your urge to gamble and prevent it from becoming an addiction.
If you’re still having trouble avoiding gambling, contact your local council for help and support. There are many options available, including online counselling and self-help groups.
You should also consider whether you need a professional gambling intervention, which may include medication or therapy. These treatments can be very effective and are based on cognitive behavioral techniques that will help you deal with your addiction.
In some cases, gambling can be a symptom of an underlying mood disorder, such as depression. If you are suffering from an underlying mood disorder, you should consider getting treatment to help you manage your symptoms and prevent gambling from becoming an addiction.
Compulsive gambling can occur in young people and older adults. It is more common in men than women, but it can be a problem for anyone.
The risk of developing a gambling problem is higher for people who start gambling early or often, and for those who have a family history of gambling problems. Some risk factors, such as trauma or social inequality, can also increase the risk of developing a problem.
Identify and address your underlying mood disorders, such as depression or anxiety. These are the root causes of a gambling problem.