Gambling involves risking money or something else of value in an attempt to predict the outcome of a game that relies on chance. It can be played alone or with other people and can take many forms, including playing card games for small amounts of money, betting on sports events, buying lottery tickets or even betting on horse races. When done to excess, gambling can lead to serious financial problems. The good news is that it is possible to recover from gambling addiction, but it’s important to surround yourself with supportive people, set boundaries, reduce financial risk factors (like the use of credit cards and taking out loans), avoid tempting environments and websites and find healthier activities to replace it with in your life.
Social gambling is also common, and takes the form of playing card games or board games for small amounts with friends, participating in a friendly wagering pool or betting on sporting events with coworkers. However, it can become problematic when it becomes a regular pastime or is used to soothe unpleasant emotions like boredom or loneliness. In addition, those who struggle with mental health conditions such as anxiety or depression are more at risk of harmful gambling.
To combat the temptation to gamble, it’s important to only ever gamble with disposable income and never money that is needed to pay bills or rent. It’s also a good idea to set money and time limits before you start, and stick to them, regardless of whether you’re winning or losing. Additionally, avoid chasing losses; the more you try to win back your money, the more likely it is that you will lose it again and further escalate your debts.
Getting help is vital for anyone with gambling problems. Treatment options include cognitive-behavioral therapy, which can teach you to challenge irrational beliefs like the notion that a few wins in a row will mean you’re about to hit the jackpot. In addition, family therapy and marriage, career and credit counseling can help you work through the specific issues caused by your gambling.
Changing your relationship with gambling can be challenging, especially as it’s more accessible than ever before. However, maintaining recovery from gambling addiction is possible if you surround yourself with support networks, avoid high-risk situations and minimise financial risk factors (such as using credit cards, taking out loans or carrying large sums of cash around). It’s also a good idea to reduce the amount of time you spend in tempting gaming venues, and to find healthy activities to replace it with, like exercise, spending time with friends who don’t gamble and practicing stress reduction techniques.