Gambling involves placing something of value at risk on a game of chance with the aim of winning a prize. This can be in the form of money, goods or services. People gamble for many reasons: the adrenaline rush of winning, socialising with friends, and escaping worries and stress. However, gambling can also be harmful to mental health, cause financial difficulties and impact relationships. It can lead to addiction, and can be a factor in criminal activity and suicide.
Taking steps to address problem gambling can help people recover. Treatment options include cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), which addresses beliefs about gambling and ways of thinking and behaving when a person wants to gamble. CBT also helps people to learn healthier ways to relieve boredom and manage moods, such as exercising, spending time with family and friends who don’t gamble, and practicing relaxation techniques.
Setting a limit for the amount of money you’re willing to lose is a good way to control your gambling. It’s also a good idea to set a specific time for when you will stop. It can be easy to get distracted by a casino, especially one without clocks or windows, and gamble for longer than you intended. Putting your mobile phone in a purse or pocket will keep you from checking it and reminding yourself that the game isn’t going well.
It’s important to talk to your doctor if you have a problem with gambling. They can refer you to support groups and give you self-help tips to overcome it. Changing your gambling habits can improve your mental health and prevent problems in other areas of your life, such as work and relationships.