Gambling is any game of chance in which something of value, usually money or possessions, is staked on a random event with the intent of winning something else of value. It may be a contest, a game or an activity such as a lottery, race or card game where instances of strategy are discounted.
People gamble for many reasons; some enjoy the excitement of a potential jackpot win, others want to change their mood and socialize with friends. However, for those who are suffering from mental health issues or experiencing financial problems, gambling can be dangerous and often leads to debt. In fact, there are even reports of people taking their own lives as a result of harmful gambling habits. To learn more about this issue, and how you can stop gambling, read our article.
Gambling occurs in a wide range of places and activities, from casinos to sports events, gas stations and online. While there have always been professional gamblers who make a living, honest or dishonestly, there has also been a long history of legal prohibitions on gambling, either for moral or religious reasons or to preserve public order where gambling has been associated with violent disputes and to prevent people from wasting time and energy gambling instead of working or spending time with family and friends.
The risk of developing a gambling problem increases as people get older and if they have a family member or friend who has a problem. Those who are suffering from mental health problems and those who have experienced trauma or abuse in childhood are also more at risk of becoming addicted to gambling. In the fifth edition of Gabbard’s Treatment of Psychiatric Disorders, a new category for behavioral addictions has been added which includes “gambling disorder.”
Some signs that gambling may be a problem include hiding evidence or lying about how much time and money is spent on it. Some people who have a gambling problem are more likely to be depressed and sad, which can make it harder for them to control their spending and to stop gambling.
A good way to help prevent harm from gambling is to set time and money limits in advance. This will ensure that you do not spend more than you can afford to lose and will allow you to stop when your limit is reached. It is also important not to use credit cards to gamble and to avoid using gambling venues as a social space. If you find it hard to stick to your limits, speak to a trusted family member or counsellor for support. To reduce your financial risk, try not to use gambling as a way to escape from your problems and seek out other recreational activities or hobbies. If you are worried that gambling is causing you harm, you can speak to StepChange for free debt advice. They have a dedicated team of trained advisers who can support you through the process of stopping or cutting down your gambling.