How to Deal With Problem Gambling


Gambling is a popular pastime for many people and can be a great source of entertainment. However, for some it can cause significant problems that affect all aspects of their life. It can affect their physical health, mental well-being, relationships, performance at work or study, and even their finances. In extreme cases it can lead to debt and homelessness, and may even have a direct link to suicide.

Problem gambling can have an impact on anyone but there are some groups who are more likely to develop a problem than others. For example, men are more likely to develop a gambling problem than women, and it is believed that a combination of factors may contribute to this. These factors include genetics, personality traits and a family history of gambling addiction.

Psychiatric disorders can also contribute to problem gambling, such as depression, stress and substance abuse. These conditions can be triggered by gambling or can make it worse, so it is important to seek help if you have any of these symptoms.

There is no single cure for problem gambling, but there are a number of things you can try. These include:

Seeking counseling – this can help you understand the root cause of your gambling issues and learn skills to deal with them. It is also useful to talk with other people who have similar problems, such as in a Gamblers Anonymous group or a support group for families.

Setting limits – this is important because it can help you control your spending and prevent you from using money that is meant for other purposes. For example, it is a good idea to only gamble with disposable income, and never with money that you need to pay bills or rent.

Finding other ways to entertain yourself – this can help you reduce the urge to gamble. For example, you might like to go for a walk or watch a film, and you could also consider taking up a new hobby or sport.

Changing your thoughts and feelings – this is important because if you have an underlying mood disorder, such as depression or anxiety, it can trigger or be made worse by compulsive gambling. Getting treatment for these conditions can help you stop gambling or at least manage it better, and help you avoid a financial crisis.

Remember that gambling is an activity in which you risk something of value on a chance event with the hope of winning more than what was lost. This is different to investments based on knowledge, such as trading in stocks and shares. If you are unsure whether your activities are considered gambling, speak to StepChange for free debt advice. They can also recommend other organisations that can offer support and guidance. You can contact them on 0800 138 1111.

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