Help For Those With a Problem With Gambling

Gambling involves risking something of value, usually money, on an event that is largely random. It is often done with friends or family members in a private setting and may involve card games, dice, slot machines, video poker, two-up and betting on football accumulators and horse racing. Other examples are lottery tickets, scratch-offs and speculation.

Gambling can be a fun and social activity, but it can also be addictive. It can affect physical and mental health, relationships, performance at work or study, and lead to debt and homelessness. It is also thought that gambling can trigger depression and even suicide in some people.

There are a number of organisations that offer support, assistance and counselling for people who have a problem with gambling. Some of these services focus on helping people to control their gambling and others offer help for those who are already addicted. Regardless of the type of service, it is important that anyone who has concerns about their gambling should seek help and advice.

Those who have a problem with gambling can be anyone, regardless of race, religion, education or income level. They can be young or old, male or female and from rural or urban areas. Individuals who develop a gambling disorder often feel isolated and alone, but they do not have to be.

In order to gamble safely, people should only ever use disposable income for the purpose and should set a budget before they start playing. They should then stick to that budget and never play with money that needs to be saved for bills or rent. It is a good idea to put the money for gambling in an envelope so that they know exactly how much they have available and can stop playing once that amount is gone. It is also a good idea to take breaks when gambling and not to get too caught up in the excitement or euphoria of winning.

Humans want to feel in control – it is part of our natural instincts. This can be frustrating when it comes to gambling, where the outcome is largely down to chance. However, some people can be sucked into becoming superstitious about their gambling habits and believe that they can control the outcome by doing things like throwing the dice in a particular way or wearing a lucky item of clothing.

People who have a problem with gambling often start to lose control of their finances and spend more than they can afford. As a result, they can begin to hide their spending from family and friends, or even lie about it. This can make it harder to recognise when the problem has got out of hand and can cause more serious harm to the individual. It is therefore essential to build up a strong support network and to find a peer group that can give help and encouragement, such as Gamblers Anonymous, which follows a similar approach to recovery as Alcoholics Anonymous.