How to Deal With a Gambling Problem


Gambling is an activity in which something of value, such as money or possessions, is staked on a random event with the intention of winning a prize. It can involve a game of skill or chance, and it may also include activities where a player places materials with a meta-game value (such as marbles or collectible cards). Gambling is a popular pastime for many people and has been a source of significant revenue for state governments, who sometimes use the proceeds from gambling to fund government operations.

Many people gamble for fun and excitement, to socialise with friends, or as a way to distract themselves from worries or stress. However, for some people, gambling can become an addiction that negatively impacts their mental health, relationships and job or study performance. It can even lead to financial crisis, homelessness and suicide. If you think you have a gambling problem, it is important to seek help as soon as possible.

A gambling problem can be difficult to recognise, but it is important to understand the warning signs. These signs can include losing control of your finances, putting your health or safety at risk and avoiding important events or responsibilities. It is also common for people to suffer from hidden depression and anxiety, which can make it harder to seek help.

Some people may have a genetic predisposition to thrill-seeking behaviours and impulsivity, while others may experience difficulties controlling their emotions or making decisions. Some communities may have cultural or moral beliefs about gambling that can affect how individuals view their own gambling activity and what constitutes a problem.

There are a number of ways you can reduce your gambling risks, including setting limits and keeping a balance between gambling and other activities. It is also advisable to only ever gamble with disposable income and never with money that you need for bills or rent.

It is also important to set a time limit for gambling and stick to it, especially when you are at a casino. Most casinos do not have clocks, and it can be easy to lose track of time. It is also helpful to allocate a specific amount of money to gambling and keep this in a separate envelope each day so you are not accidentally spending more than you meant to. It is also important to avoid chasing your losses, as this often leads to bigger losses and can have a negative impact on your life.

If you are concerned about your gambling habits, it is a good idea to speak to a therapist for help. BetterHelp is an online service that matches you with licensed, accredited therapists who can help with issues such as depression, anxiety and relationships. To get started, take the free assessment and get matched with a therapist in as little as 48 hours. You can find more information about gambling and mental health in our FAQs. If you are in debt, StepChange can help with free, confidential debt advice.