Gambling is the betting or staking of something of value on an uncertain event, usually a game or contest, with consciousness of risk and hope of gain. It may take place in a formal setting such as a sports book or in an informal way where a group of people predicts a result.
Benefits of gambling include socialising, mental development and skill improvement. However, it also has adverse effects such as financial problems, depression and addiction.
Identifying the problem
A person with a gambling problem has a distorted view of reality, and cannot stop putting money at risk. They may be restless or irritable, and they make repeated unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back or stop their gambling. They need to gamble with increasing amounts of money in order to feel euphoric and to achieve a sense of satisfaction.
The risk of developing a problem can be determined by several factors, including age, gender and the environment in which an individual lives. The influence of family and friends can also increase the risk.
Recovering from gambling
A key part of recovering from a problem with gambling is to learn new ways to relieve unpleasant feelings and stress in healthier ways. This can involve learning relaxation techniques, taking up new hobbies or engaging in other forms of self-help.
Support for families
If you suspect that a loved one is struggling with a gambling problem, reach out for help. It can be hard to see a loved one addicted to a habit, but it is crucial that you seek support and find someone to talk to.