Gambling is the process of playing games of chance for money, usually with the aim of winning a prize. It can be played in a range of different venues, from casinos to church halls, and online.
It can be addictive and cause problems in your life if you gamble too much or too often. It can affect your relationships and finances, so it’s important to seek help if you think you have a gambling problem.
Benefits and costs of gambling
The economic benefits of legalized and regulated gambling are clear, though a number of studies have been undertaken to estimate the social cost of gambling. These benefits include increased revenue for government, the ability to fund infrastructure and education, and more jobs in the gambling industry.
Some studies have estimated the social costs of gambling, which can include lost productivity among employees of a pathological or problem gambler, and the losses experienced by families and friends of a person with a gambling problem. However, these are often difficult to measure and do not represent an accurate representation of the total cost of gambling on a society.
Mental health effects of gambling
There is a strong link between gambling and mental illness, particularly depression and anxiety. This is because people with mental health problems often find that they feel better when they gamble. They may also use gambling to distract themselves from feeling angry or sad.
It is also linked to thoughts of suicide, so it’s important to seek help for any feelings that you may have about gambling.
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is an effective treatment for gambling addiction. It can teach you how to change your unhealthy gambling behaviours and thoughts so that you don’t need to gamble as much.
Support from friends and family
Having a strong support network can help you fight against your gambling addiction. You can seek help from your family, your doctor or a therapist, and join a support group such as Gamblers Anonymous.
In addition, you can also try to find new ways to spend your time. For example, you might get a part-time job or volunteer at a charity that supports gambling recovery.
You can also try to build up a bankroll that you don’t rely on for gambling. You could get rid of credit cards, close your online betting account, and only keep a small amount of cash on you.
Addiction to gambling can be treated with a combination of medication and therapy. Your doctor or therapist can help you decide which methods are best for your needs and make sure you take the necessary steps to stay on the right track to recovery.
The American Psychiatric Association officially classified pathological gambling as an addiction in its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the current edition published in May 2013. This is a significant change from the past, where it was thought that problem gambling should be treated as a compulsion rather than an addiction.