Whether it’s sports betting, scratch cards, roulette or poker – gambling can be fun and exciting for some people but for others it can become a problem. It can take a toll on relationships, affect work and study and lead to financial problems and even homelessness.
Gambling is any game of chance or skill in which you risk something valuable, such as money or a prize. It can be played in casinos, at the racetrack or on the internet.
Some of the most popular forms of gambling include:
Gaming (games with a random element of chance): includes card games, fruit machines, video-draw poker machines, slot machines and two-up; Betting: includes horse and greyhound races, football accumulators, lottery and lotteries, instant scratch cards and bingo. Speculation: includes wagering on business, insurance and stock markets.
It is a widespread problem and occurs in many parts of the world, including the UK and Ireland. In fact, according to Public Health England, over half the population in the UK gambles at some point during their lives.
Psychiatric treatment is available for those who suffer from problem gambling and there are various support groups, including Gamblers Anonymous, that offer help with this issue. Counselling can help you to break the habits that have formed around gambling and learn how to stop.
Self-help guides and resources can be useful in cutting down or stopping your gambling. These can help you to recognise the signs that you are losing control of your gambling and provide some tips to stop it in its tracks.
The first step is to create boundaries for yourself when it comes to gambling. This will help to prevent you from spending more money than you have and also stop you from chasing your losses when they happen.
Another important thing to do is to be honest with yourself. It can be tempting to lie to yourself and convince yourself that you are not being a bad person by not gambling.
You can also try and find alternative ways to cope with unpleasant feelings such as anxiety, anger or depression. This will help you to manage your moods and reduce the chances that you will be tempted to gamble.
Physical activity and relaxation techniques can also be effective in reducing the impact of gambling on your life. Some research shows that exercising and taking up new hobbies can help to stop the craving to gamble.
If you are thinking about getting help for a gambling problem, seek out a qualified practitioner who has experience of working with this specific issue. They will be able to guide you through the process and assist with any questions that you may have.
A good counsellor will be able to guide you through these steps and offer advice that is tailored to your specific needs. They will also be able to offer support and help you to achieve your goals.
Your treatment plan should address all aspects of your life and your situation. It should include family therapy, relationship issues and career counselling as well as financial assessment and debt resolution strategies.