Gambling is an activity that involves placing something of value on an uncertain event in which the outcome can be determined by chance or accident. People place bets on sports events, games of chance, or lottery draws for a prize, such as money, goods, or services. Some people gamble with friends or family for fun, while others do it professionally for a living.
Whether you enjoy playing cards with your friends, buying lottery tickets, betting on horses or sporting events, or using the pokies, gambling is part of modern life for many Australians. However, if you find yourself thinking about gambling frequently or losing control of your spending, it may be time to seek help.
The term “gambling disorder” describes an underlying condition that leads to problem gambling behavior. These problems can affect a person’s personal, professional, and social relationships. People with this condition are restless, irritable, or unable to concentrate because they cannot stop thinking about gambling and are unsuccessful in their efforts to control or decrease their behavior. They also experience a desire to gamble in increasing amounts in order to feel the same excitement they experienced when they first started gambling.
In addition to the physical and emotional symptoms, a gambling disorder can cause serious financial problems for individuals and their families. Those with this condition have difficulty making sound decisions, and they often spend more than they can afford to lose. This can lead to credit card debt, home mortgage defaults, and foreclosures. They may even risk losing their job or schooling opportunities.
There are a number of ways to deal with a gambling addiction. The first step is to recognize that you have a problem, which can be difficult, especially if your gambling has cost you substantial sums of money and caused strain or breakups in your relationships. You can also seek support from a friend or family member, and consider joining a gambling recovery group such as Gamblers Anonymous.
Regardless of how you choose to spend your money, it is important to budget it wisely. Set money and time limits in advance, and never gamble with money that you need for bills or rent. You should also avoid drinks and other perks at casinos, as they are offered to keep you gambling for longer. And never chase your losses – thinking you will suddenly win back what you’ve lost is known as the gambler’s fallacy, and it almost always leads to bigger and bigger losses.
If you’re struggling with gambling, get in touch with a therapist today. Our simple online assessment will match you with a qualified, vetted therapist in less than 48 hours. You can also call our national helpline at 1-800-662-HELP.