Gambling is an activity in which a person stakes something of value (like money) on an event with the chance of winning a prize. This event could be a football match, the outcome of a lottery draw or even a scratchcard. The chances of winning are determined by the odds which are set by the betting company and determine how much money can be won.
The disadvantages of gambling are that it can cause addiction, like other addictive activities such as drugs and alcohol, as well as significant financial harm. In addition, it can have social costs including negative impacts on family and friends.
Problem gamblers are at increased risk of a number of psychological and behavioural problems such as impulsivity, difficulty with decision making, low self-esteem and depression . In some cases they may also experience feelings of helplessness, guilt or anxiety. Problem gamblers are more likely to lie to their family members, therapist or others about their gambling habits and to try to conceal their addictions (chasing losses).
For people who struggle with gambling, it’s important to seek support. This can be through a number of ways including therapy, treatment and peer support groups like Gamblers Anonymous which is based on the principles of Alcoholics Anonymous. It’s also worth remembering that it’s not your fault you have a problem with gambling, and you shouldn’t be made to feel embarrassed about seeking help. If you are concerned about your gambling habits, speak to one of our counsellors – it’s free, confidential and available 24/7.