Gambling is a risky activity where you bet money or something of value on the outcome of a game, contest or an uncertain event. It’s a way of making money but it can be addictive and can be bad for your health, relationships, performance at work or study, getting into trouble with the law and leave you in debt and potentially homeless.
There are many different types of gambling: gaming, betting and speculating (gambling on business, insurance or stock markets). However, the most common is gambling on sporting events such as horse racing, football accumulators and lottery games.
People often get addicted to gambling because it’s an easy way to spend money. They are also attracted to the excitement of ‘taking a risk’ and the thrill of winning big.
Although it’s important to recognise if your loved one has a gambling problem and take steps to protect yourself from them, there are ways you can help if they are struggling with it.
1. Reach out to support groups, such as Gamblers Anonymous or AA for help and advice. These groups are free and can provide you with an invaluable support network.
2. Find an ‘addiction mentor’ to support you and give you advice on how to beat your gambling problem.
This person will be able to guide you through the difficult times, help you stay on track and give you tips and strategies to avoid relapse.
3. Strengthen your support network of friends and family.
This is crucial to your recovery and can be a key factor in staying strong and not relapsing. It’s also a good idea to make new friends and socialise without the need for gambling. You can reach out to colleagues at work, join a sports team or book club, enroll in an education class or volunteer for a charity organisation.
4. Learn about the benefits of gambling
There are many positive aspects to gambling that may surprise you. For example, studies have shown that gambling can improve your mood and lead to higher levels of happiness in some cases.
Moreover, it can help you build up new skills that are valuable to your overall life and wellbeing. It can teach you to be more observant, mentally task your brain and learn patterns and numbers.
5. Rebuild your financial future
The first thing you need to do is stop gambling, but it can be hard. You need to make a decision to do this and think about the consequences for your behaviour. You need to set limits on how much you spend and keep your credit cards out of sight, or have someone else in charge of your finances.
6. Rebuild your personal and social life
Another positive aspect of gambling is the way it can improve your life and your mental health. It can teach you to be more discerning about what you spend your money on and how much you value your friendships.
In addition, it can also help you to improve your self-esteem and your confidence. It can help you to deal with irrational thoughts and beliefs, such as the notion that you will always win at the slot machine. It can also help you to manage your emotions and avoid letting them get out of hand.