Gambling is a social activity that involves making a bet on something, usually with the chance of winning money. It can be on a football match, a lottery ticket or even playing a scratchcard.
The first part of gambling is choosing what you want to bet on – it could be a certain football team, or buying a scratchcard with odds set by the betting company – such as 5/1 or 2/1. Then you have to decide on the criteria you’ll use to win or lose – for example if they will score a goal, win the race, or get a certain number of red or black numbers in a row.
In addition to these elements, there are also psychological factors that contribute to gambling problem behaviour. People with specific disorders, such as depression or anxiety, have an increased likelihood of developing a gambling addiction.
Those with family or friends who have a gambling problem are more likely to develop it as well. They may feel pressured to gamble and have trouble controlling it.
There are a number of ways to reduce your chances of becoming addicted to gambling. These include:
Avoiding the urge to gamble whenever possible is a good way to prevent this behaviour from taking over your life. This means learning to manage your moods and feelings in healthier ways, such as exercising or spending time with people who don’t gamble.
If you do fall into a habit of gambling, seek support from a professional counsellor or other mental health professionals to help you overcome your addiction. They can provide guidance and advice and will be able to offer you a range of options, such as inpatient or residential treatment.