Gambling involves placing a wager on an event with the hope of winning something of value. It is a form of risk taking that involves an element of chance and can include activities such as sports betting, bingo and scratchcards. People can gamble in person or online, or through their mobile phones. The most common gambling activity in the UK is placing bets on events such as football matches and horse races, although betting companies also offer games such as poker and roulette.
The first step towards overcoming a problem with gambling is recognising that you have one. This can be a difficult step, especially if you have lost a lot of money and strained or broken relationships as a result of your addiction. However, you should remember that many others have overcome their gambling problems and gone on to lead healthy, fulfilling lives.
There are a variety of treatments available for people with gambling problems, including psychotherapy and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). CBT is a type of talk therapy that helps you identify and change unhealthy thoughts, emotions and behaviours. It can be used to treat a number of conditions, including depression and anxiety. It can also help you learn to cope with stress and find healthier ways to relax.
Some individuals are at a higher risk of developing a gambling disorder, particularly those who are depressed or have coexisting mental health conditions. These disorders can trigger or make worse a gambling problem and are associated with negative consequences such as financial difficulty, debt and poor quality of life.
In addition to talking therapies, some people with gambling problems benefit from family therapy. This type of psychotherapy can help you and your family members discuss and address your concerns together under the guidance of a trained therapist. It can also provide you with support and encouragement as you tackle your addiction.
There are currently no medications available to treat gambling disorder, but psychotherapy and other talk therapies can be effective. These techniques are a good choice because they are non-invasive and can be delivered face-to-face or over the telephone. It is important to seek help as soon as possible, especially if your gambling is causing you financial hardship. If you’re struggling to pay your bills, speak to StepChange for free, confidential debt advice. The organisation can also refer you to a debt charity for further help and support.