Gambling is an activity where you risk money or material goods to predict the outcome of a game based on chance, such as a roll of dice, spin of a roulette wheel, or the result of a horse race. The element of risk and uncertainty is central to gambling, making it a popular pastime for many people. People gamble for a variety of reasons, from enjoying the excitement of winning to socializing with friends. People with mental health issues are at higher risk of gambling problems.
A gambling addiction can cause a lot of damage to your personal and professional life. It can cause debt, family distress, and even lead to thoughts of suicide. The good news is that help is available, and the earlier you get treatment, the better your chances of recovery.
It’s important to know the signs of a gambling problem. Some of the most common include:
Feeling compelled to hide your gambling activity. Hiding your gambling activity can make it harder to see how much you’re spending and how much time you’re wasting on it. You may also start lying to others about how much you gamble.
The urge to gamble when you’re bored or feeling down. You might try to relieve these feelings by gambling, but it’s important to learn healthier ways of relieving boredom and stress. For example, exercising, spending time with friends who don’t gamble, or taking up new hobbies can all be great alternatives to gambling.
Getting a handle on your finances. Never use money that you need for bills or rent when gambling, and never bet more than you can afford to lose. It’s also worth considering investing in financial education or credit counselling, which can help you take control of your finances and build a strong foundation for future success.
Gambling is often a high-stress activity, which can lead to feelings of anxiety and depression. People with mood disorders are at higher risk of gambling problems, and these problems can be made worse by compulsive gambling. Getting help with your mood disorder or seeing a therapist can help you overcome the urge to gamble and manage your moods more effectively.
Getting the right kind of treatment. There are several different types of treatment for gambling disorders, including cognitive behavioral therapy, psychodynamic therapy, group therapy, and marriage and family counseling. Medications are also sometimes used to treat co-occurring conditions such as depression and anxiety. Taking the right type of medication can make it easier to stop gambling and deal with your symptoms. There’s no cure for a gambling disorder, but you can learn to control it and live a happier, more fulfilling life. Having a supportive network can help, too. You can seek support from a therapist or peer support group, such as Gamblers Anonymous, or reach out to your local gambling helpline. You can also call a suicide hotline for help with suicidal thoughts or a support line for families, such as Gam-Anon.