Managing Your Gambling

Gambling is a form of entertainment that involves the risk of losing money. People gamble for many reasons, including to alleviate stress, take their minds off problems or socialise with friends. Gambling also triggers feelings of euphoria, linked to the brain’s reward system. But gambling can become dangerous if you have an addiction. It can lead to financial disaster, strain relationships and disrupt work. Problem gambling is common and can affect people from all walks of life. It can involve any type of gambling activity, including lotteries, scratch cards, casino games and betting on sports, horse races and other events. It can also include online gaming and speculating on business and financial markets.

Gambling can lead to other addictions, such as alcohol and drugs. However, not everyone with a gambling problem develops an addiction to another substance or behaviour. Generally, people who have one addictive behaviour are at higher risk of developing another. Many people with a gambling problem report having family members with a history of addiction. Some people who have a gambling problem are at risk of developing other mental health problems, including depression and anxiety.

Managing your gambling

If you think you have a gambling problem, it is important to seek help as soon as possible. There are many organisations that provide support, counselling and treatment for gambling addiction. Some organisations offer services for family and friends affected by a person’s gambling.

A person with a gambling problem may experience symptoms such as:

They can include:

It is also important to recognise that gambling can be addictive and can lead to a range of negative consequences. It is essential to have a good support network and to talk openly with them about your gambling habits. This can help you to identify any triggers and address them before they become problematic.

Keeping track of your spending is important when trying to manage your gambling. It is a good idea to set aside a percentage of your disposable income specifically for gambling and to only gamble with this amount. This will help you to limit your losses and ensure that you are not spending money that is needed for other purposes.

It is also important to remember that you are always at risk of losing money when gambling, regardless of your skill or luck. It is not uncommon to lose a substantial sum of money and this can lead to a feeling of desperation, which can fuel the desire to gamble again in the hope of winning it back. It is also a good idea to avoid high-risk situations, such as using credit cards, taking out loans, carrying large amounts of cash and gambling while drunk. It is also helpful to make a list of things you enjoy doing other than gambling and to fill in the time that you would normally spend gambling with other activities. This can help you to break the habit.