Gambling is an activity where you risk money or something of value to predict the outcome of a game of chance. It can be informal, where people predict the results of a sporting event or a game of poker, or more formal, where an individual or group makes a commercial gamble on a product or a service.
In any case, gambling is an addictive behavior that can negatively affect your health and your social life. It can also cost you your career or financial well-being.
The key to overcoming a gambling addiction is to reach out for help and seek support. A support group like Gamblers Anonymous, which follows the 12-step Alcoholics Anonymous model, can provide you with a strong and supportive community of people who understand your struggle and have experienced recovery.
You can also make new friends and strengthen your relationships outside of gambling by pursuing hobbies and activities that you enjoy. These might include learning a new skill, joining an art class, or volunteering with a cause you believe in.
If you have a loved one who has a gambling problem, you need to take steps to protect their finances and keep them accountable. This can mean taking over their finances or putting a limit on how much money they can spend while playing.
It can be difficult to determine if someone is having a problem with gambling, but there are some warning signs that can help you assess your own or your loved one’s risk. These include the following:
Mental Health Issues
Gambling is often associated with other issues, such as depression, anxiety and substance abuse. These conditions can also contribute to harmful gambling behaviors, so it’s important to see a doctor if you suspect that a loved one has a gambling problem.
Changing the Environment
The way you live your life can have a major impact on whether or not you develop a gambling problem. This includes where you live and how often you gamble, as well as your coping styles, social learning and beliefs about risk and reward.
Where You Gamble
Whether you’re at home, at a casino or playing online, gambling can be a fun and exciting way to spend time with family and friends. It’s also a great opportunity to win big, but it’s important to know when it’s time to stop.
A good place to start is with a fixed amount of money that you can afford to lose, then stick to it. You can also take a friend or family member along with you to help you set limits, and to ensure that you’re not spending more than you can afford.
You should always be honest with yourself and others about your own gambling habits and decisions. This can help you recognize when it’s time to call a halt to your activity and take the necessary steps to recover from your gambling addiction.
If you’re struggling with a gambling problem, or you’d like to learn more about how to cope with a loved one’s addiction, StepChange can help. Our debt advisers are free, confidential and available to speak with you 24/7.