How Gambling Can Be Harmful

Gambling is a form of risk-taking in which individuals place money or other items of value on an event that is based on chance. Whether it is betting on a football team to win a match, buying a scratchcard or playing a slot machine, gambling involves placing something at stake and the possibility of winning something in return. Although many people have fun and excitement when gambling, it can become a problem for some. Those who have problems with gambling often find themselves putting their family and work life at risk. They may also suffer from anxiety, depression or other mental health issues.

There are many reasons why people gamble, such as to socialise with friends, get an adrenaline rush or escape from worries or stress. However, it is important to recognise that gambling can be a harmful behaviour if you start to spend more than you can afford or find yourself becoming preoccupied with thoughts about gambling. If you think you might have a gambling addiction, there are ways to seek help.

The most common reason people gamble is to try and win money. This could be a small amount for fun, or a large sum that would change someone’s lifestyle. The ‘high’ that comes from gambling can be addictive, and it is often difficult to stop. The ‘low’ feeling when losing is usually much worse, and it can lead to desperate attempts to win back lost money.

People can be affected by a variety of factors when it comes to gambling, from genetic predispositions to their environment and culture. For example, some research suggests that there is a link between a person’s brain reward system and their ability to control impulses. In addition, a person’s social and cultural values can influence how they view gambling, which can make it harder for them to recognise when their gambling has a negative impact on their life.

While the Food and Drug Administration hasn’t approved any medications to treat gambling disorder, psychological therapies can be helpful. For instance, cognitive behaviour therapy can help an individual address irrational beliefs about the odds of winning and the role of luck in games that don’t involve any skills. It can also teach a person healthy coping strategies and help them develop healthier relationships with family members.

For those who struggle with gambling, seeking professional help is vital to break the cycle of addiction and regain control over their finances. Counselling services that can help include family therapy, marriage counselling and credit counseling. These can all provide a safe space to work through the specific issues that have caused an individual to gamble excessively and create a foundation for recovery. To find a therapist who can help, fill out a brief questionnaire on BetterHelp and get matched with a qualified therapist. This service is free, but we earn commissions when you follow links to book a session. We only recommend providers who have a high rating with our users.