Gambling is when you stake something of value on a game of chance, like a football match or a scratchcard. The odds of winning are usually set by the company that sells the game, so you may not be sure how much money you will win. If you lose, you will lose your money.
Gambling can be fun and a great way to spend time with friends, but it can also be harmful for your health, relationships and performance at work or study. It can also leave you with serious debt and can even lead to homelessness.
If you’re concerned about your gambling, talk to a professional. They can help you decide if it’s a problem and what treatment you need.
Understanding how gambling works is the first step towards stopping it. Learn about how your brain works when you gamble and the factors that could trigger problematic gambling.
Then, try to limit your gambling and stay within your budget. This means only using a small amount of money, or setting limits on how long you can play and how many times you can gamble. It’s also a good idea to keep a record of your gambling and not hide it.
You can also think about whether your gambling is causing harm to others. This can include your family or other people who live with you. It can also include your boss or work colleagues if you’re not able to control your gambling and you’re letting them down.
If you are worried about your gambling, you can contact the free Gambling Helpline or get support from the National Gambling Helpline website. These websites can give you information about the different types of gambling, what you can do to stop and how to support someone who is struggling.
Harms from gambling are often difficult to define. They can occur in isolation or co-morbid with other harmful behaviours and/or reduced health states, for example depression.
These harms can be caused by a variety of factors, including the psychological effects of the activity itself, the environment in which it occurs and your personal characteristics. They can affect your health and relationships, performance at work or study and the law.
A harm-based definition of gambling harm aims to capture the full range of possible impacts of gambling. It was developed through a review of the relevant literature and a systematic collection of data from interviews, focus groups and public forum posts from people who have suffered harms related to their gambling.
The harm-based definition is not a precise and stable measure of gambling harm, however, it offers an insight into the mechanisms that underpin gambling related harms.
There is a growing body of evidence showing that gambling can have adverse effects on mental health. It can lead to a wide range of problems including feelings of guilt and anxiety, as well as depression. It can make you feel worthless and increase your risk of suicide.