Gambling is an activity in which individuals risk something of value (money, property or possessions) for the chance to win more than they have risked. This activity takes many forms, from lotteries and scratch-off tickets to games of skill like blackjack and poker. While gambling can be a fun and exciting pastime, it can also have serious consequences for the health of individuals, families and communities. It can also affect personal relationships, work performance and even lead to debt and homelessness.
A large proportion of people who gamble do so responsibly, with money they can afford to lose and only on occasion. However, some people develop an addiction to gambling and end up losing more than they can afford to lose. They can also lose out on other life experiences and damage their health and relationships with family, friends, work colleagues and neighbours. Problem gambling can be very serious and can even result in suicide.
The majority of people who have a gambling problem start gambling in adolescence or young adulthood and their problems tend to worsen over time. Pathological gambling (PG) is more common among men than women and it generally starts at a younger age in males. It is more likely to affect strategic or face-to-face types of gambling, such as poker and blackjack, whereas females report more problems with nonstrategic or less interpersonally interactive forms of gambling, such as slot machines and bingo.
It is important for families to understand the signs of a gambling problem in their loved ones, as it is all too easy to hide or downplay a gambling addiction. It is important to know the facts about gambling, and to realise that it is possible to overcome a gambling addiction with the right support.
In addition to individual and group therapy, a range of medication can be used to help people with gambling problems. These medications can reduce the urge to gamble and improve concentration. They can also be useful in reducing anxiety and depression, which are often associated with gambling disorder. They may also help with sleep difficulties.
If you are concerned about your or a family member’s gambling habits, you can seek help and advice from a specialist clinic. You can also try an online therapist service, which can match you with a vetted therapist within 48 hours. It can be difficult to admit that you have a problem, especially when it has caused financial problems and strained or broken relationships, but it is vital for your health and wellbeing. The biggest step towards overcoming gambling problems is acknowledging that you have a problem. Then, you can take action. You can also get help from a support group, family therapy or an inpatient or residential treatment and rehab program. The world’s largest therapy service. Get matched with a professional, licensed and vetted therapist in just 48 hours. Start by answering a few simple questions. It’s free, confidential and anonymous. Click here to begin.