Gambling is an activity in which people stake something of value – usually money – on an event with an element of chance or skill. People can gamble on anything from lottery tickets, cards, fruit machines, slot machines and two-up to horse races, football accumulators and bingo. The aim is to win a prize. There are also a number of other ways people can gamble, including betting on business or financial markets.
Generally speaking, gambling is enjoyable for most people when it is played in moderation. However, for some individuals, it can be a major source of addiction and can cause serious harm to their personal and professional lives. Gambling can lead to addiction to other substances, and some people may be unable to control their urges even after they have quit gambling. It can also lead to bankruptcy, homelessness and debt. There are a number of things that can be done to minimise the negative aspects of gambling and help individuals stop.
One of the most important things to do is to learn how to recognise when you are feeling an urge. It is then possible to take steps to reduce the urge or stop it entirely. Some individuals find that they are triggered to gamble by certain events such as boredom, loneliness, stress or depression. There are healthier ways of coping with these feelings such as exercising, spending time with friends who do not gamble, and finding hobbies.
Another thing to do is to keep a journal or diary of when you are tempted to gamble and what you are doing to avoid it. This can be very helpful for individuals who are struggling with compulsive gambling, and it can help them to understand the patterns of their behaviour. In addition, it can also be a good way to track progress over time.
It is also a good idea to stay away from places where you have previously gambled, and to spend as much time as possible with friends who do not gamble. This can help prevent the temptation to gamble and to distract yourself from urges. It is also worth remembering that gambling can often be an expensive pastime, so it’s important to set a budget and stick to it.
If you have a friend or family member who is struggling with gambling, it is important to speak up and express your concern. It is important to make them feel supported and understood, as this will help them to open up and talk about their problems. It is also helpful to try and find out more about the impacts of gambling, both on a personal level (for example, the effects it has on a person’s mood) and on an interpersonal and community/society level.
If you are concerned about the impact that gambling is having on your life or someone close to you, our counsellors are here to help. They are free, confidential and available 24/7.