Gambling is a popular pastime that involves placing bets on random events with the intention of winning something else of value. Whether it is buying a Lotto ticket or putting some money down on a horse race, sport event or using the pokies, gambling is an activity that most people participate in at some point in their lives. For many people, though, it is a serious problem that can lead to debt and even depression.
It is important for all of us to understand what gambling is and how it works in order to stay safe. Having a flutter is fun but if it is causing you harm, then it is time to seek help. If you find it difficult to stop, speak to your GP about getting cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) or ask StepChange for free debt advice.
CBT can help to change the way you think about betting and teach you new coping skills. It looks at your beliefs about betting, such as the idea that certain rituals will bring you luck, and teaches you ways to manage the urges that cause you to gamble. The therapy also focuses on reducing the amount of money you gamble with. This may include getting rid of credit cards, having someone in charge of your finances, closing online betting accounts and keeping a small amount of cash on you at all times.
There are a number of different treatment options for gambling problems, including psychotherapy, self-help and medications. The most effective approaches involve a combination of these techniques. In addition, some therapies are specifically tailored to treat specific underlying mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression.
Gambling has long been a popular form of entertainment, with evidence of it dating back as far as 2,300 B.C. Tiles found in ancient China were etched with symbols that looked like the start of a game of chance. More recently, gambling has become a massive industry, and it is estimated that there are more than two million Americans who struggle with gambling addiction. This is why more effective treatments for gambling disorders are so vital.
Pathological gambling has been reclassified as an addictive disorder in the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. This reclassification, along with other changes, is intended to improve recognition and screening for the disorder, encourage research into effective treatment, and promote awareness of and support for those affected.
There are a variety of things you can do to overcome gambling addiction, such as seeking treatment for other conditions, strengthening your support network and finding healthier ways to relieve boredom or unpleasant feelings. These can include exercising, spending time with friends who don’t gamble and joining a peer support group such as Gamblers Anonymous, which follows the model of Alcoholics Anonymous. You can also look at other ways to make money, such as starting a business or working from home, and consider volunteering for a charity.