Dealing With Gambling Problems


Gambling involves risking something of value (money, property, or time) on an event with a random outcome and an expectation of gain. It can take many forms, from putting money on a lottery ticket to betting on sports events or using the pokies. Although gambling can bring enjoyment and excitement, there are also risks associated with it. People who gamble can hurt their physical and mental health, damage relationships, hinder performance at work or study, get into debt and even put themselves in danger of losing their homes. Harmful gambling is linked with suicide and Public Health England reports that over 400 suicides a year may be associated with a gambling problem.

The most obvious reason to gamble is for the chance of winning money. But many people gamble for other reasons. It can be a way to socialize with friends, to change their mood, or because it triggers a feeling of euphoria. Research shows that these feelings are largely due to the release of dopamine in the brain. This chemical is released when you win, but it’s also produced when you lose. It’s this positive feeling that makes people keep gambling, even when they are causing themselves harm.

Many people with gambling problems don’t recognize the problem and are unable to control their spending. They may try to hide their addiction from friends and family or lie about how much they are spending. If you suspect you or a loved one has a gambling problem, it’s important to seek help. There are many treatment options available, including cognitive-behaviour therapy and group support. These therapies teach coping skills and help individuals confront their irrational beliefs, such as believing that a series of losses signals an imminent win.

It’s also important to have a strong support network when dealing with a gambling addiction. This is especially true if you have to manage the finances of someone with an addiction. You can ask for help from your family and friends, or find a gambling support group such as Gam-Anon. This program is based on the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous and can provide valuable support in battling an addiction.

In addition to getting help for a gambling problem, you can take steps to avoid harmful behaviour by budgeting and controlling your finances. Don’t use credit to fund gambling and make sure that you only gamble with money that you can afford to lose. Also, try to balance gambling with other activities and don’t chase your losses. This will only lead to bigger losses. If you’re struggling to control your finances, speak with StepChange for free, confidential debt advice.