How Gambling Affects Your Mental Health


Gambling is a risky and often costly activity that involves betting something of value on a random event in the hope of winning more money. The game can be played with cards, dice, horses or even the pokies (pokies are electronic fruit machines in casinos and other gambling establishments). While many people gamble as a form of entertainment, it’s important to understand how gambling affects your mental health.

Research shows that gambling can lead to addictive behaviours, such as increased spending, impaired judgment and loss of control. In addition, a gambling problem can cause financial difficulties and strain family relationships. However, if you’re suffering from a gambling addiction, you can take steps to overcome it. The first step is recognizing that you have a problem. This can be difficult, especially if you’ve lost a lot of money and suffered strained or broken relationships in the process. But it’s important to realize that you’re not alone. There are many others who have successfully battled gambling disorder, and there are many resources available to help you recover.

There are several ways you can deal with a gambling disorder, including cognitive behavioural therapy. This type of therapy can help you identify and challenge distorted beliefs about gambling, such as thinking you’re more likely to win than you really are or believing that certain rituals will bring luck. In addition, CBT can teach you healthier and more effective coping skills for dealing with unpleasant feelings.

Other types of psychotherapy can also be beneficial for a person with a gambling disorder. These include group therapy, which can provide moral support and motivation, and psychodynamic therapy, which can help you become more self-aware and learn how your unconscious processes influence your behavior. Another helpful option is family therapy, which can help educate your loved ones about gambling disorders and create a more stable home environment.

In addition, it’s important to set boundaries for yourself before entering a casino or gambling website. Choose a fixed amount of money that you can afford to lose and stick to it. Never chase your losses — this is known as the gambler’s fallacy and is a common mistake that can quickly add up to big losses. Also, avoid mixing gambling with alcohol or other drugs.

If you’re struggling with a gambling addiction, reach out to your friends and family for support. They may be able to help you find healthy ways to cope with unpleasant emotions or relieve boredom, such as exercising, spending time with non-gambling friends, taking up new hobbies, or practicing relaxation techniques. You can also join a support group such as Gamblers Anonymous, which is based on the 12-step model of Alcoholics Anonymous and offers peer-to-peer support and recovery.