Whether it’s buying a lottery ticket, placing bets on horse racing or sporting events, using the pokies, or even taking a chance by throwing a coin in a fountain or tossing a dart at a board, gambling is an activity that involves risking money and/or other possessions for the potential of winning. Gambling can be done for a variety of reasons, including to increase one’s excitement or to relieve boredom. However, it’s important to recognise that gambling can become a problem and seek help if it does.
There are a number of things that can lead to harmful gambling, including mood disorders such as depression, stress and anxiety. These mood disorders can be triggered by gambling and are also made worse by it. It’s also common for people who have depression to hide their gambling addiction from family and friends, which can lead to isolation. There’s a strong link between gambling problems and thoughts of suicide. If you are having suicidal thoughts or feel unsafe, call 999 or visit A&E immediately.
People gamble for a variety of reasons, including the desire to win money, to socialise and to escape from worries and pressure. But gambling can become problematic if a person begins to spend more than they can afford or is unable to control their urges. There are a range of treatments and self-help tips that can help.
A gambling addiction can affect all aspects of a person’s life, including their health, home, job and relationships. It can even lead to financial crisis, such as debt and over-spending. However, many people who have an addiction to gambling are able to overcome it with the help of treatment and support.
It’s important to remember that gambling is a form of entertainment and should be treated as such. It’s also important to set spending and time limits before gambling, so that you don’t lose more than you can afford to lose. It’s also important to stop chasing your losses, as this can often lead to bigger losses.
Many people who struggle with gambling have a history of mental health issues such as depression, anxiety or substance abuse. These conditions can be triggered by gambling and make it more difficult to cope with the consequences of a loss. Seek help from your GP if you have a mental health problem or consider speaking to StepChange for free, confidential debt advice.