Gambling is an activity in which you risk something of value for the chance to win a prize. Often this is money, but it can also be other things like jewellery or tickets to sporting events. There are a number of different types of gambling, including lotteries, casinos, sports betting and online gambling.
The risks of gambling include financial loss and mental health problems such as anxiety or depression. Having a problem with gambling is also linked to thoughts of suicide. It is important to get help if you or a loved one has a gambling problem.
Identifying your risk of gambling and learning about the risks can help you take steps to reduce these. It could involve talking to a family member or friend, changing how you gamble or taking part in a support group.
Set limits and don’t gamble with more than you can afford to lose. Don’t use your phone bill or rent money to gamble, and keep a set of money and time limits.
Don’t gamble while you are tired or if you are upset. It is easy to let gambling get out of control when you are feeling tense and anxious, so try and find something else to do instead.
Avoid gambling in the same place every time. It can be tempting to go back to the same place, especially when you have a good winning streak, but it is better to avoid places that are known for their temptations. It can also be helpful to set a time to go to a place where you know you will not gamble.
Talk about your gambling with someone who won’t judge you or judge them. This person might be a family member, a friend or a professional counsellor.
It might be a good idea to join a self-help gambling support group, such as Gamblers Anonymous. You can find one near you by looking on the internet or asking your doctor for recommendations.
If you want to give up gambling, it is important to plan ahead and put a limit on how much and when you will gamble. It is important to be honest with yourself and your friends about how much you are losing. If you lose too much, stop gambling for a while and think about what happened.
Set goals and stick to them, even when it is hard. This may help you stay focused and clear about giving up your gambling habit.
You can also make it easier to give up by finding a support group in your area. They are a good place to meet other people who are experiencing the same problem as you, and they can help you to cope with the withdrawal symptoms that are likely to occur when you quit gambling.
Getting help for a gambling problem can be the first step in breaking the cycle of addiction and recovering from the effects that it has on your life. Whether you need to get treatment or just need advice, there are a number of services available across the UK and online that can provide help and support.