Gambling is the act of placing a wager on an event whose outcome is uncertain, for a chance to win something of value. People gamble for a variety of reasons: to have fun, socialise, or escape from stress and worries. For some, however, gambling becomes a serious problem and can have negative effects on their mental health.
In this article, we’ll look at what gambling is, the different types of it and how it can affect your mental health. We’ll also discuss ways to stop gambling and help you find support.
While the majority of people who gamble do so responsibly, for some it can become an addiction. This is called compulsive gambling. Compulsive gambling can lead to many problems, including financial hardship and loss of family and friends. In addition, it can have a negative effect on your relationships, work and education. For these reasons, it is important to seek help if you think you have a problem. There are many options for treatment and help, including psychotherapy and support groups.
Psychiatry has long recognized that some forms of gambling can be addictive, and in 2014, the DSM-5 classified pathological gambling as a behavioral addiction. This move reflects the growing recognition that some forms of gambling are similar to substance-related disorders in clinical expression, brain origin, comorbidity and physiology.
There are several different ways to treat gambling disorder, but one of the most effective is cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). CBT is a type of psychotherapy that helps you identify and change unhealthy thoughts, feelings and behaviours. It’s usually carried out with a trained mental health professional, such as a psychologist or a clinical social worker.
Another way to combat gambling is to set boundaries for yourself. It is important to only gamble with money that you can afford to lose and not to use money that you need to pay bills or rent. It’s also helpful to limit the amount of time you spend gambling and take regular breaks. Gambling can be addictive, especially in casinos where there are no clocks and it’s easy to lose track of time.
If you’re feeling the urge to gamble, distract yourself by completing a chore or calling a friend. If you’re unable to resist the temptation, consider seeking help from a support group like Gamblers Anonymous. Alternatively, call a hotline or use a self-help tool like this website. It’s also worth considering medication as it is available and can be helpful for some people. If you’re unsure of where to start, speak to your doctor or a mental health professional. The good news is that there is help out there, and it’s never too late to get the help you need.