Gambling involves placing a bet on an event that is at least partly determined by chance with the intention of winning something of value. Traditionally, it has involved money or property but modern technology is blurring the boundaries and there are now many ways to gamble online.
Gambling can lead to addiction if it is not managed effectively, which means setting limits and sticking to them. In some cases, it can also lead to problems with family, work or social life. If you feel that gambling is having a negative impact on your life, talk to one of our counsellors. They are free, confidential and available 24/7.
Many people use gambling to relieve boredom, stress or loneliness. Others use it to self-soothe unpleasant feelings, such as sadness or anger. However, there are healthier and more effective ways to manage moods and reduce boredom. These include exercise, spending time with friends who don’t gamble, taking up a new hobby or practicing relaxation techniques.
The main problem with gambling is that it provides false pleasure and the illusion of control. This can be particularly dangerous for people who are already struggling with mental health issues, such as depression or anxiety. It is important to seek help if you are struggling with these conditions or if your gambling behaviour is affecting your relationships, employment or financial situation.
Most people have gambled at some point in their lives, whether it was buying a lotto ticket or placing a bet on the horses or sports events. The fact is that most people lose more than they win. The reason is that gambling products are designed to keep you gambling, with features such as flashing lights and sounds and offers of bonuses and rewards, to encourage you to continue to play.
Getting help for a gambling addiction is difficult, especially when it has cost you money or caused strain on your relationships. But there is help out there and it is important to remember that you are not alone. Talk to your family and friends and consider seeking professional counselling. There are a number of options for counselling, including individual therapy, marriage and relationship counseling, and family therapy. In addition, it is important to address any underlying mood disorders that may be contributing to your gambling behavior. For example, depression and anxiety can both trigger gambling problems and make them worse. Also, alcohol misuse can increase depression and suicidal thoughts and can interfere with treatment.