Gambling is a risky activity where you wager something of value on an event that is unpredictable. People gamble for many reasons, from the thrill of winning money to socialising with friends or escaping worries or stress. However, gambling can become problematic for some people and if you’re concerned about your own behaviour, there is help available.
Problem gambling is also known as pathological gambling (PG). It’s a behavioral disorder that involves compulsive patterns of behavior characterized by loss control, impulse-control deficits, and impaired self-control. It’s estimated that between 0.4-1.6% of the US population has PG and it tends to start in adolescence or young adulthood, with males developing PG at a faster rate than females. Typically, PG starts in nonstrategic forms of gambling such as lotteries, slot machines and bingo, but can also include more strategic games such as poker and blackjack.
There are several symptoms of a gambling problem, such as excessive betting, hiding gambling activities from family and friends, and lying about how much time and money you’re spending on gambling. Problem gambling can also have serious implications for mental health, including depression and anxiety.
While there is no cure for a gambling addiction, it can be treated with cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). This type of therapy helps you change the way you think about betting and how you behave when you want to gamble. It may also address any underlying problems such as low self-esteem or anxiety.
Taking a break from gambling can be helpful for those struggling with this issue. It’s important to talk to your GP about how you feel and get advice on the best treatment options for you.
Gambling can affect your work and home life, causing financial stress and affecting relationships. It can also lead to theft and fraud by employees if they have access to company funds, which is why it’s important to seek help early on.
Many people enjoy a little flutter on the pokies or a quick game of poker with friends, but for some it becomes an obsession. If you’re worried about your own gambling behaviour, there are ways to help, from self-help tips to counselling and support groups. You can even find inpatient or residential rehab programs if your gambling is affecting your mental health.
One of the most effective ways to prevent gambling addiction is to set a budget and stick to it. You should only gamble with money that you can afford to lose and stop when you’ve reached your limit. Another great tip is to surround yourself with positive influences, such as family and friends, who will help you stay on track. You can also join a gambling recovery program such as Gamblers Anonymous, which is based on the 12-step model of Alcoholics Anonymous. You can also find online support through forums and blogs. Finally, if you’re feeling isolated at work, try to make new connections by joining a team or book club.