Help For Gambling Problems


Gambling is an activity where a person wagers something of value on an event that has an element of randomness or chance, and the outcome can be either positive or negative. This can include a wide range of activities, from playing card games or slot machines in a casino to betting on horse races, football accumulators, and elections. It is often seen as a vice and a problem for many people, causing financial loss, emotional distress, and even suicide in severe cases.

There are many different reasons why people gamble, and it can be hard to know when a person’s gambling is out of control. It can lead to debt, problems at work or in relationships, and serious health and addiction issues. People may feel that they have a ‘compulsion’ to gamble, and the behaviour can be hard to change. It can be difficult to recognise that there is a problem and seek help, especially if family members or friends also gamble.

Some people are genetically predisposed to gambling problems and may have an underactive reward system in the brain, leading to impulsive and risk-taking behaviours. Certain drugs or medical conditions can also make a person more vulnerable to gambling. It is also possible that a person’s culture can influence their views on gambling and the extent to which it is harmful, and this can be a barrier to getting help.

A number of services offer support, assistance and counselling for people who have gambling problems or are concerned about a friend or family member’s gambling habits. These services can be provided by local governments, non-profit organisations, community health centres and private companies. Some services are free of charge, while others require a fee. Some of these services include counselling, education, support groups and treatment programs.

It can be difficult to quit gambling, and it is even harder to stay in recovery. It is important to surround yourself with people who can hold you accountable, avoid tempting environments and websites, have someone else be in charge of your money, and find healthier things to do with your time. It can be helpful to join a peer support group, such as Gamblers Anonymous, which follows a 12-step model similar to Alcoholics Anonymous.

The first step in overcoming a gambling problem is to admit that you have a problem. It takes strength and courage, particularly if you have lost a lot of money or damaged relationships through your gambling activity. It can be helpful to talk about your gambling with someone who won’t judge you, such as a family member, friend or professional counsellor. It is also worth reducing your risk factors, such as using credit cards or taking out loans and keeping large amounts of cash on you. It is also a good idea to try to fill the void that gambling leaves in your life with other social and recreational activities. You could try joining a sports team, a book club, volunteering or enrolling in an education course.