Gambling is an activity in which people place bets on outcomes of games, events or other random situations. It can be a risky and addictive behaviour, and there are many different types of gambling.
Most people gamble at some time or another, but for a small number of people it can become an addiction and an ongoing problem. If you think you may have a gambling problem, it is important to seek help and support.
Understanding the reasons behind your gambling is an important part of getting help and staying on track with treatment. You can learn more about the reasons for your gambling and how it affects your life by contacting the National Gambling Helpline on 0345 5600.
There are a variety of reasons why people choose to gamble, including coping strategies such as distraction or relaxation. It can be a way of self-soothing unpleasant emotions, unwinding after a long day, or even socialising with friends.
But it can also be a sign that someone is suffering from an underlying mental health problem, such as depression or anxiety. This is especially true for young people.
A person’s environment and community are also a factor in whether they develop harmful gambling behaviour. Where they live and where their nearest casino is can also affect the type of gambling they are exposed to, the amount they gamble, and how often they do it.
This can affect how they deal with their feelings and how they make decisions. It can lead to problems with their work, relationships, or financial situation if they become addicted.
You should also try to understand why your loved one chooses to gamble, and why it has become a problem. Usually, they are not aware of how it works and did not choose to get into the habit.
If they do not understand how to play the game, you could encourage them to attend a gambling class. These classes teach you how to understand the odds and betting systems, and can help you control your gambling habits.
Some people who have problems with their gambling can also find it helpful to use a cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) programme, which helps you to challenge the irrational beliefs that drive your behaviour. A therapist can also give you tips and tricks for dealing with cravings.
The most effective CBT programmes are run in a structured way, with a specific goal in mind, such as breaking the cycle of gambling, or improving your general well-being. You can also learn about other coping strategies, such as relaxation techniques and visualisation exercises.
How to recognise a gambling problem
If you are concerned that someone you know is gambling too much, you can ask them to complete this questionnaire. The answers will help you determine if there is a problem and if it needs help.
If you believe that someone you know is having a gambling problem, it’s important to take action as soon as possible. Your support can help your loved one stop their behaviour and avoid a serious financial disaster. You can also help them to overcome their underlying mental health problems, such as anxiety or depression.