Gambling is when you risk something of value, such as money or a prize, on an event that’s determined by chance. This can be anything from betting on a lottery or a scratch card to playing games at casinos, such as slots and fruit machines.
It can cause financial and emotional problems, damage relationships, ruin your career or study, get you into trouble with the law, and leave you in debt and at risk of homelessness. Fortunately, there are things you can do to stop gambling and protect your health and well-being.
The key to gambling is avoiding temptation. Learn to recognise when you are being tempted and find ways of dealing with these feelings in healthier ways. You may also need to change the way you think about gambling, which can help you control your behaviour and reduce your risk of losing.
You may be able to treat a gambling problem by talking to your doctor, or using cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). This can help you understand how your beliefs about betting affect how you feel and behave. It can also teach you strategies for controlling your gambling urges and reducing the chances of losing.
There are many other things you can do to improve your mental health and wellbeing. For example, you can learn to relax and be comfortable, which will relieve your stress and anxiety. You can also choose to do activities that will make you feel better such as exercising or going for a walk.
When you have a good relationship with your family, you’re less likely to suffer from mental health issues like depression and anxiety. You’ll be able to cope with a stressful situation or deal with an argument better and have more empathy for others.
Getting help can be difficult, but there are many support options available. Seek help from your friends, call a helpline, or talk to a counsellor. Attending a support group such as Gamblers Anonymous or Alcoholics Anonymous can also be helpful.
Understanding your gambling can help you make the right decisions about whether to quit or not. This can be a difficult process, but it’s important to do what is best for your health and wellbeing.
People who have gambling problems can be treated the same as those with any other addiction, using cognitive behavioural therapy. They may also need to take medication to control their gambling and to treat any other symptoms they have.
Some gambling disorders are triggered by certain events, such as a loss of a loved one or a major change in your life. You might have a strong craving for gambling after you’ve been through a difficult time or if you’re suffering from anxiety, depression or other problems.
Compulsive gambling is more common in younger and middle-aged people, but it can happen at any age. Women are more likely to become addicted to gambling than men.
You might have a gambling problem if you have lost more money than you expected or have started to gamble a lot more than you’re able to afford to. You’re spending a lot of time and money on your gambling, and are feeling anxious or depressed about it.