Gambling is an activity where someone bets something of value on a random event, such as the outcome of a football match or buying a scratchcard. They then hope to win a prize, such as money or goods. Some gambling activities require skill on the part of the player, such as playing games like poker or roulette.
While gambling can be fun and entertaining, it can also lead to serious problems. Problem gambling is a mental health disorder that can cause significant distress, anxiety and depression. It can also have an impact on relationships and work. It can also be difficult to recognise, as it often occurs in secret. Mental health professionals can diagnose a gambling addiction using criteria set out in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).
There are many ways to get help for a gambling problem. Support groups such as Gamblers Anonymous can offer advice and support. There are also other counselling services that specialise in helping people with gambling problems, such as marriage and family therapy and credit counseling. There are also debt charities such as StepChange that can provide free, confidential help.
It is important to set boundaries for managing money when dealing with a gambling problem. If you are worried about your own gambling habits, or those of a loved one, seek help immediately. Make sure that you only gamble with money that you can afford to lose. Do not use your phone or rent budget to gamble, and never chase your losses – this is known as the ‘gambler’s fallacy’ and will usually lead to bigger and bigger losses.