Gambling involves placing something of value, such as money or possessions, on an event whose outcome is determined at least in part by chance. The gambler hopes to win a prize that is greater than the amount risked. The most common forms of gambling are betting on sports events, buying lottery and scratch tickets, playing bingo, and using the Internet to gamble.
Problem gambling can lead to serious financial and personal problems. It is estimated that up to 5% of people who gamble develop a gambling disorder. The disorder can cause depression, anxiety, substance use disorders, and loss of family and friends. Those with low incomes and those who are younger are more susceptible to developing gambling disorders.
There are a number of different treatments for gambling disorder, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), motivational interviewing, and group therapy. CBT helps you learn to recognize and unlearn negative and obsessive thoughts and behaviors, while motivating you to make healthy changes. In group therapy, you meet with other people who have similar struggles and provide support. Psychodynamic therapy is another form of treatment for gambling disorder, which explores your unconscious processes and how they influence your behavior.
The first step in overcoming a gambling disorder is admitting that you have a problem. It can be difficult to do this, especially if you have lost a lot of money or have damaged your relationships as a result of gambling. However, many people have successfully stopped gambling and rebuilt their lives.
It is also important to talk about your gambling with a trusted family member or friend. This can help you to understand the root causes of your gambling and provide you with a support network. It is also helpful to seek professional advice, as a trained counsellor can offer you a range of tools and strategies to manage your gambling.
It is essential to control your finances. This means avoiding credit cards, having someone else manage your cash, and closing your online betting accounts. You should also try to find other ways to socialise and relieve boredom, such as exercising, spending time with non-gambling friends, or taking up a new hobby. It is also important to get enough sleep and to eat well. If you are feeling depressed or anxious, it is recommended that you speak with your doctor or a mental health professional. They can prescribe medication to help you deal with these feelings. If you have a gambling addiction, it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible. By seeking treatment, you can regain control of your life and begin to rebuild your relationships and finances. For more information about gambling, see the Better Health Channel fact sheet ‘Gambling’.