Gambling is when you risk something of value in an event determined at least in part by chance. It can be anything from betting on the outcome of a race to risking money on a scratchcard or fruit machine. The person who gambles hopes to ‘win’, and gain something of value from the experience.
Getting help for gambling is vital to overcome the problem and prevent it from damaging your health, relationships or finances. You can get support through therapy, self-help groups or gambling helplines.
It’s important to understand how and where gambling occurs so you know what the risks are. It can happen anywhere from the internet to gas stations, church halls or sporting events.
If you’re worried about a loved one’s gambling, speak to someone in a trusted position, such as your doctor, family or a social worker. They can provide information and support and advise you on what to do if you think you or your loved one has a problem.
The symptoms of gambling disorder can range from the mild to the serious and include impulsive behavior, spending habits that don’t fit in with the rest of your life, problems with friends or family, thoughts of suicide, borrowing large amounts of money and difficulty resisting the urge to gamble. It can start as early as adolescence or as late as older adulthood.
Treating gambling disorders is similar to treating other addictions and usually involves cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). It looks at your beliefs around betting as well as how you feel and behave when you’re thinking about gambling. It can also look at any other problems you may have, such as depression or anxiety.
Your doctor can recommend a treatment plan to help you deal with your gambling. They can give you advice on what to do next and help you build your self-esteem and confidence.
They can also offer guidance on debt, including how to repay it. They can also refer you to StepChange for free, confidential debt advice.
There are no drugs available for treating gambling disorders, but some people do take medications to help control their emotions and reduce stress. These medicines can also help with other mental health conditions and co-occurring illnesses, such as depression or anxiety.
Support from family and friends is crucial to recovery from a gambling disorder. They can encourage you to stop, help you cope with the stresses of withdrawal and build a support network.
The first step to getting help is to admit that you have a problem and seek treatment. It takes tremendous strength and courage to face your gambling problems, but it is essential to your recovery and wellbeing.
Gambling can be fun and it can help you meet new people with shared interests. But it can also be addictive and damaging if you don’t take it seriously.
While gambling is a fun pastime, it can be a harmful addiction if you do it too much or too often. It can ruin your relationship and leave you in debt.