Gambling can be an enjoyable pastime for many people but for some, it can become a serious problem. It can affect mental health, relationships, work performance, money and even life chances. It can also lead to a loss of self-esteem and stress. It can also be dangerous to those who are addicted and can lead to problems with the law, homelessness and suicide.
The word gambling can refer to any activity that involves risk and the expectation of a win or loss. It can be a simple act such as placing a bet on a sporting event or more complex such as a commercial investment. In either case, the outcome of the bet is based on chance. It can be as simple as a single person or a group of people predicting the results of an event (eg ‘I bet you that this won’t work…).
There are many different types of gambling: Online casinos, sports betting, lotteries, bingo and poker to name a few. Each type has its own unique rules, methods of payout and risks.
If you have a gambling problem it is important to seek help. There are support groups and organisations that offer help for problem gamblers and their families. These can help to prevent relapse and get you back on track.
Gambling is often a coping mechanism for people who feel lonely or bored and it can be a way to socialise and unwind. But there are healthier and more effective ways to relieve unpleasant emotions, such as exercise, spending time with friends who don’t gamble or trying new hobbies.
You can also develop a gambling problem as a result of an underlying mood disorder. Depression, anxiety or other mental illnesses can trigger the urge to gamble, so it’s important to seek help for any underlying issues.
In the UK, over half of adults regularly gamble and around 36% of adults in this country suffer from a gambling problem. Those who have gambling problems can experience financial problems, lose their self-esteem and have trouble concentrating at work or studying.
It can be difficult to avoid gambling, but if it is taking over your life and getting in the way of everything you do then you may need some help. You can talk to one of our counsellors about how to cut down or stop and it’s all free and confidential.
The latest version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders has placed gambling in its own section, making it an addiction for the first time. This is a major development and follows 15 years of research into the nature of gambling.
Pathological gambling is an impulse control disorder that can be triggered by an individual’s feelings of distress. This condition is sometimes called “problem gambling” or “gambling addiction”. It is characterized by a preoccupation with gambling, a strong desire to keep up with the game, and a sense of euphoria that comes from winning.