Gambling is the act of wagering something of value on a random event, typically with the intention to win a prize. It is a form of entertainment and many people engage in it casually for fun or to socialise with friends. For others, however, gambling can become a dangerous addiction. There are many warning signs to watch out for including:
Downplaying or lying about gambling activities. Relying on other people to fund gambling or replace money lost from gambling. Continuing to gamble even when it negatively impacts finances, work, education or personal relationships.
If you know someone who is struggling with a gambling problem it can be hard to know how to approach the topic. The best way to start is by showing empathy and reassuring them that you won’t judge them. It is also a good idea to offer support and help them find alternative ways to spend their time.
When someone gambles, their brain releases a chemical called dopamine which causes them to feel pleasure. This can cause them to continue gambling to try and get those feelings back. However, this only makes the situation worse as they are likely to end up in debt as a result. It’s important to talk to a professional about your concerns and seek treatment as soon as possible.
There are many different ways to treat gambling addiction, such as behaviour therapy or cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). There are also various medication options available, although they should only be used in conjunction with behaviour therapy. You may also want to consider talking to a therapist who specialises in gambling addiction.
It is also a good idea to avoid gambling environments and spend time with friends who don’t gamble. It is also helpful to identify any triggers that might lead you to gamble, such as spending time with a certain group of friends or visiting a particular venue. It’s also a good idea to set time limits for gambling and stop when you reach those limits, regardless of whether you are winning or losing. It’s also a good idea not to gamble on credit, and if you do, make sure you don’t lend your friends or family money. You can also add a note to your credit file to warn lenders that you may be trying to borrow to cover debts incurred through gambling.
Once you have successfully treated your gambling addiction, it’s a good idea to find a new hobby or activity to keep yourself busy. It can be difficult to quit gambling entirely, but you can start by replacing it with other healthy habits, such as exercising, taking up a new interest, joining a book club or volunteering. It is also helpful to surround yourself with positive, supportive people who can encourage you. You can also join online forums where you can chat with other people in similar situations to you. You can also seek help for any underlying mental health issues, such as anxiety or depression, which can be made worse by harmful gambling behavior.