Gambling can be a lot of fun, but it’s also risky and carries the potential for serious consequences. If you gamble regularly, it’s important to understand the risks involved and learn to control your gambling.
The word ‘gamble’ means ‘to bet’ and is used to describe any risky act. It can refer to a game where the results are determined by chance (such as bingo, keno or roulette) or more complex games in which two parties agree on a certain outcome and the winning party pays out the losing party.
Historically, gambling has mainly involved risking money or other possessions with the aim of winning something of value. This could be a prize in a casino or racetrack, a ticket to a sporting event or a lottery ticket.
Some people who have a problem with gambling may have an underlying mental health condition, such as depression or anxiety. These conditions can lead to a gambling addiction.
If you have a gambling addiction, it is important to seek help from a professional as soon as possible. Treatment can include cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), where you will learn to change how you think about betting, as well as how you feel when you want to gamble.
When you’re tempted to gamble, try to postpone it by telling yourself that you won’t gambling today or this week and then find something else to do instead. Or, if you’re in the mood to gamble and it isn’t possible to avoid it, then distract yourself with a different activity or practice relaxation techniques until the urge passes.
You might also want to consider using a gambling website that offers a safe environment to play online. It’s a good idea to choose a gambling site that accepts your credit card or debit card as this makes it easy to make deposits and withdraw your winnings.
The ‘feel good’ neurotransmitter dopamine is released by your brain when you win a bet. This is what makes you feel excited and it is often difficult to stop once the thrill of the moment has passed.
Some people who have a gambling problem have difficulty controlling their urges to gamble and will keep playing even when they are in trouble or have lost a large amount of money. This is called pathological gambling and is a disorder that is recognised in the DSM-5.
It is more common in young people than older adults. This is because it is more likely that a young person will be exposed to gambling in their formative years.
Affected individuals often have a family history of gambling and have been influenced by other people who have a problem with it. This is why it is important to monitor your behaviour and check on the gambling of those around you.
When you’re tempted, try to distract yourself by doing something else or thinking about what will happen if you gamble and why you don’t want to do it. Alternatively, you can talk to someone about your feelings and ask them to support you with your decision.