Whether it’s buying lotto tickets, placing bets on horse races or using the pokies, gambling is a common pastime for many Australians. However, the behaviour is often associated with negative consequences and may be considered an addiction. In this article, we will take a look at what gambling is, how it works and the risks involved. We’ll also explore how to recognise if you or someone you know has a gambling problem and where to get help.
Gambling is defined as the wagering of something of value on a random event, such as an outcome in a game of chance, with the intention of winning something else of value, where instances of strategy are discounted. People engage in gambling for many reasons, including the thrill of winning, and to escape from the boredom of everyday life. For some, it is a way to escape their financial problems or to relieve stress and anxiety. However, if gambling becomes excessive, it can lead to problems such as debt and bankruptcy. It can also have a detrimental impact on mental health. There are links between pathological gambling and suicidal thoughts. This is why it is important to seek professional help if you have concerns about your own gambling habits or those of someone close to you.
In some cases, a person’s gambling habits can be treated like any other addiction. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can be used to address the underlying beliefs and attitudes that cause someone to gamble excessively. These can include beliefs such as that they are more likely to win than they really are, or that certain rituals will bring them luck. CBT can also help to tackle the negative emotions that may trigger a gambling spree.
Those with gambling problems are at risk of other addictions as well, including alcohol and drugs. They are also more likely to experience mental health problems, such as depression or anxiety, which can make them feel depressed and compelled to gamble. In addition, they are more likely to suffer from a lack of family support and poor physical and mental health.
In order to minimise the effects of gambling, it is recommended that you only gamble with money you can afford to lose. It is also helpful to allocate a fixed amount of your disposable income to gambling and never use money that you need for bills or rent. Additionally, it is important to set a time limit for your gambling sessions and avoid going to casinos that don’t have windows or clocks. This will make it harder to lose track of time and keep gambling for longer than you intended. If you are struggling to control your gambling habit, it is worth talking to a GP or considering joining a support group. If you are in financial crisis, you can also contact StepChange for free and confidential advice. In the meantime, try to distract yourself from gambling by exercising, eating healthy food and spending time with friends and family.