Gambling Addiction

Gambling is a risky activity where you stake something of value on an uncertain event or future contingent event not under your control, in the hope of winning. This doesn’t include bona fide business transactions (securities, commodities, contracts of indemnity or guaranty and life insurance). Gambling is also often associated with sensation-seeking and with diminished self-control.

It’s important to recognise the risky nature of gambling and understand how people can become addicted. Many people use gambling as a way to relieve unpleasant emotions, such as boredom or loneliness. Others gamble for social reasons, or to win money. However, these activities don’t always lead to positive outcomes and can be a source of stress and anxiety.

Some individuals are predisposed to gambling addiction based on their genetics or psychological dispositions, and can develop a problem when they combine it with an environmental trigger. For example, if someone is around other gamblers a lot and is exposed to promotions and advertising, they may become more likely to engage in this behaviour. There are some ways to reduce your risk of developing a gambling problem, including avoiding casinos and other gambling outlets, not gambling with friends, limiting your time at these places, not using credit cards or online betting accounts and not keeping cash in your home.

The first step is recognising that you have a gambling problem and seeking help. There are a number of services that provide help and support for people who have gambling problems, including self-help groups like Gamblers Anonymous, family therapy and individual counselling. Some of these services are funded by the government and some are privately run.

Trying to stop gambling can be difficult, especially when you’re under pressure, or you have a financial emergency. You can try to limit your spending by putting yourself on a budget, not using credit cards or having someone else manage your money, closing your gambling accounts, and only keeping a small amount of cash in your home.

Another way to decrease your temptation is to learn healthier and more effective ways to cope with unpleasant feelings. This could be by exercising, spending time with non-gambling friends, or practicing relaxation techniques. You can also find community support in other ways, such as joining a church or sports club or volunteering for a cause.

If you have a loved one who has a gambling problem, it’s important to be patient and understanding. It can be easy to get frustrated with a loved one who is unable to control their gambling and this can make things worse. Try to remember that your loved one didn’t choose to be a gambler and they may not realise how their gambling is affecting them. They may also deny that they have a problem, lie about their gambling habits or hide evidence of their betting activity. It’s important to seek support and help for yourself if you are worried about your loved one’s gambling. This will help you stay grounded and prevent you from becoming angry or blaming them for their behaviour.