Gambling is the betting or staking of something of value, such as money, on an uncertain event with the hope of gaining something in return. It may take many forms, including playing card or board games for small amounts of money with friends, participating in a friendly sports betting pool or buying lottery tickets. In more serious cases, gambling can lead to addiction. It can affect a person’s work performance, relationships and physical and mental health. It can also cause harm to families, communities and society as a whole.
It is often hard to recognise when gambling has become a problem and it can be tempting to minimise it or even lie about how much time and money you spend on it. But if your gambling is causing you or others harm, there are some things you can do to start improving your situation.
Talk to someone about your gambling. You could ask a friend or family member, or you could seek professional help from a specialist. There are many different ways to get help for a gambling addiction, including face-to-face therapy and online counselling. It’s important to find a therapist who is right for you, so make sure to research your options before making a decision.
Set limits for yourself and stick to them. Only gamble with money that you can afford to lose, and never use it for essentials like food or rent. If you’re struggling to keep your gambling under control, try limiting the times you visit casinos or other gambling venues. Instead, find other recreational activities or hobbies to occupy your time and mind.
Identify what triggers your gambling and come up with strategies to avoid or overcome these situations. For example, if you are drawn to gambling because it is a way to escape boredom or loneliness, find other ways to satisfy these needs, such as going for walks, taking up a new hobby, exercising or spending time with friends.
Realising you have a gambling problem can be extremely difficult, especially if you’ve lost a lot of money and damaged or strained your relationships as a result. But remember that you are not alone – there are many people who have successfully overcome their gambling problems, and with the right support, you can too.