Gambling is a form of entertainment that involves wagering something of value on an event with uncertain outcomes. People gamble for a variety of reasons including excitement, socialising and to escape worries or stress. However, some people can develop a gambling addiction. It is important to know if you have a problem and seek help. There are many treatment options available and there are also self-help tips that can help you stop gambling.
The term ‘gambling’ covers all forms of wagering, including betting on events such as football matches or scratchcards, and activities that involve skill such as card games and horse racing. The outcome of gambling is uncertain because it depends on chance, and no one knows for certain what the odds will be – the chances of winning or losing are based on random factors that cannot be predicted or analysed. There is no evidence that the behaviour of people who become addicted to gambling is related to a mental health condition. However, people who have mental health issues are at higher risk of gambling problems.
People who are suffering from a mental health issue may gamble to distract themselves or as a way of feeling better about themselves. This can lead to debt problems which are difficult to recover from. The good news is that it is possible to overcome a gambling disorder, with the right support. There are many ways you can seek help, from support groups to seeking professional treatment. You can also try self-help tips to help you stop gambling, such as staying away from places where gambling is offered and spending more time with friends and family.
Gambling has been practised since prehistoric times, and archaeological finds show that tiled gaming tables have been used in China from around 2,300 B.C. The popularity of gambling increased dramatically in the 20th century and it is now a worldwide activity. The legal gambling industry is estimated to be worth $10 trillion per year. This includes lotteries, casinos, and state-organized and state-licensed sports gambling such as the equestrian sport of horse racing and other sports like tennis, baseball and football.
Some people with mental health conditions are more likely to be affected by gambling disorders, including depression and anxiety. It is also more common for people with these conditions to have financial difficulties which can lead them to gamble.
Although there are no medications currently approved by the FDA to treat gambling disorders, psychotherapy can be helpful. This is a type of talk therapy, which can help you identify unhealthy emotions and thoughts and change them. Psychotherapy can be provided by a licensed mental health professional, such as a therapist or a social worker.
If you are worried about someone you care about, it is best to seek advice from a specialist GP or a counsellor. The GP can refer you to a local addiction service or recommend other sources of support in your area.