Whether it is buying a lottery ticket, placing a bet on the horse races or playing the pokies, many people enjoy gambling at some point in their lives. However, for some, it can become a dangerous habit that damages their mental and physical health, interferes with relationships and job performance and even gets them into trouble with the law or in serious debt. In fact, Public Health England estimates that there are around 400 suicides each year associated with problem gambling. It is important to recognise if you or someone you know has a gambling problem and seek help. There are effective treatments available, including counselling and medications, which can help.
What is Gambling?
Gambling involves risking something of value (such as money or property) on an event that is determined at least in part by chance, with the hope of winning something else of value. In the case of casinos, games like roulette, blackjack and video poker have a built-in house edge, which means that, over time, players will lose. Despite this, gambling is still an enjoyable pastime for some people.
A number of different factors can cause gambling problems, including personal circumstances, personality traits and coexisting mental health conditions. Research has also found that certain genetic factors can predispose a person to gamble. For example, a genetic tendency to overeat and lack of exercise can increase an individual’s likelihood of developing a gambling addiction.
In addition to these factors, some people are more at risk of gambling problems than others due to the way their brains work. For example, people who suffer from depression are more likely to engage in harmful gambling behaviours. They may also be more likely to gamble as a way of feeling better about themselves, or to distract themselves from other distressing feelings.
Some people can be triggered to begin gambling by an event in their life, such as a relationship breakdown or financial difficulties. In other cases, it may be a family member or friend who encourages them to gamble. Gambling is a highly addictive activity and it can have disastrous consequences for your health and well-being. It can lead to financial ruin, loss of jobs and homes, and it has been linked to domestic violence, child abuse, drug and alcohol use and even suicide.
It is important to understand the warning signs of gambling addiction, so that you can identify if you or someone you know has