Gambling is an activity in which people risk money or other assets in the hope of winning a prize. It’s a common activity that people enjoy, but it can also cause harm to some.
Gambling involves a gambler choosing an event, such as a football match, or a scratch card, which has ‘odds’ on it, and then betting how much they think the outcome of the event will be. If they win they get a prize, if they lose they will have to pay out a sum of money.
In some cases gambling can become a problem and it’s important to seek help if you’re concerned about your gambling. This might be through support networks or by seeing a GP.
Harm from gambling can affect different parts of your life and may include emotional and psychological distress, relationship problems and financial issues. Talking to a GP or a mental health expert can help you understand the risks and consequences of your gambling and what you can do about them.
There are many ways to reduce the harmful effects of gambling on your life, but it can be a difficult process. It’s not always possible to stop gambling entirely, but it can be managed if you get help and support from your family, friends and the wider community.
It’s also important to try to strengthen your relationships with those around you. This can be through family or friendships, volunteering and joining sports clubs or book clubs. You might also consider taking part in a peer support group or recovery program like Gamblers Anonymous.
Some people may also seek out help for other mental health conditions or behavioural problems, such as anxiety or depression. These comorbidities can make your gambling more difficult to control and can have a negative impact on your overall wellbeing.
The harms experienced by people who gamble can range from the ‘episodic’ harms associated with a specific gambling session to ‘pervasive’ harms that occur throughout their lives, such as a loss of time spent with family and friends. It can be a struggle to recognise that your gambling is causing harm, so it’s important to speak with a GP or mental health professional.
Gambling can be a fun way to spend your spare time, but it’s not for everyone. It can also lead to addiction and other problems if it becomes more than you can manage on your own.
To find out more about gambling, read our guide on What is gambling?
Some types of gambling are legal and can be played on machines in casinos, at home or online. Other forms of gambling are illegal and can be dangerous.
A gambling problem is a serious problem that can have long-term effects on your life and can also cause other problems, such as losing your home. It can be treated with cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
The main thing to remember is that gambling can lead to harm, so it’s important to be aware of the risks and talk to your doctor if you’re worried about your gambling.