Gambling is the placing of something of value on an event whose outcome is determined by chance. It can be as simple as putting a pound on a football team to win or as complicated as betting on a new technology in the hope that it will become high demand. Regardless of the type of gambling, to be considered a gamble the three key elements must be present: consideration, risk and a prize.
While it is easy to understand why people might choose to gamble, it can be difficult to stop. It is important to recognise the dangers of gambling and take steps to reduce its impact on your life. If you are concerned about your gambling, talk to a professional.
A therapist can help you get back on track, whether your problem is mild or severe. They will work with you to identify and challenge distorted thinking, learn healthier coping mechanisms and develop a plan for managing your finances, relationships and health.
The biggest step to overcoming a gambling addiction is admitting that you have one. This can be very hard, especially if you’ve lost money or have strained or broken relationships due to your gambling habit. However, many people have managed to break the habit and rebuild their lives. Getting support from family and friends is important, as is finding healthy ways to express your emotions. You can also join a peer support group like Gamblers Anonymous or seek treatment for an underlying mood disorder that may have contributed to your gambling addiction.
Harms caused by gambling are widespread and varied, and include:
Gambling can cause significant harm to individuals and society as a whole. A variety of measures have been developed to try and quantify this harm, including problem gambling diagnostic criteria, behavioural symptoms and survey data. However, these measures do not provide a complete picture of the impact of gambling and can be misleading.
For example, a person may be more likely to report being harmed by gambling if they:
-have lied to family members, a therapist or others in order to conceal their involvement in gambling;
– have spent more money than they can afford to lose;
-struggle with feelings of guilt or shame about their gambling behaviour;
Despite these limitations, behavioural interventions are the best available approach to reducing gambling-related harm. Longitudinal studies are also important to explore the onset, development and maintenance of both normative and pathological gambling behavior. These studies can also help to distinguish between different underlying assumptions about the etiology of pathological gambling.