Gambling involves risking something of value – money, property, or your reputation – on the outcome of a game involving chance. People gamble for a variety of reasons – to socialise, get an adrenaline rush, or escape from stress or worries. But for some, gambling can become a serious problem. If you or someone you know is struggling with problem gambling, there are ways to get help. This page will help you understand more about gambling and its effects, find treatment options and learn about self-help tips.
The term ‘gambling’ is used to describe a wide range of activities, including betting on sports events, buying lottery tickets, playing card games, and even taking part in fantasy sport. It can also include activities that are not legally defined as gambling, such as a purchase of insurance or credit cards. Gambling can be dangerous because it is a form of impulsive behaviour. When you gamble, the brain releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter that makes you feel excited. However, if you are unable to control your impulsiveness and cannot stop gambling when the excitement wears off, you may be at risk of developing a gambling disorder.
If you are struggling with gambling, try to seek help from a friend or family member or join a peer support group. This can help you find strategies to stop gambling, such as postponing the urge or exercising. You could also consider seeking professional therapy to work through the problems gambling has caused in your life. It is important to address any mood disorders that you might have, such as depression or anxiety, as these can trigger gambling problems and make them worse.