Gambling involves risking money or something of value to try to predict the outcome of an event, such as a football match or playing a scratchcard. The odds are determined by the betting company and there is no guarantee that you will win if you place a bet.
It is important to understand that gambling is a very addictive behaviour and can lead to serious harms for the person who gambles or their friends and family. However, there are steps you can take to help avoid gambling problems.
Getting Help to Stop Gambling
There are many types of treatment for gambling addiction, including inpatient or residential facilities. You can also get help by talking to a support worker or attending a 12-step recovery program like Alcoholics Anonymous.
Your support network
The most effective way to resist a gambling urge is to surround yourself with supportive friends and family members. You can also join a 12-step program such as Gamblers Anonymous, where you can share experiences with others who have similar problems.
Learn to relieve unpleasant feelings in healthier ways
Gambling may be used to self-soothe negative emotions or relieve boredom. However, it is important to seek help if gambling starts taking over your life and is interfering with work, study or social relationships.
You can also try to find ways of reducing stress in your daily life or taking up a new hobby or activity. It is important to be aware of the consequences of gambling, such as spending money you don’t have or damaging your health.
Keeping a diary or journal can also help you to keep track of your gambling habits and how they are impacting on your life. This can give you an idea of how often you are engaging in this behaviour and when you may need to change it.
Harms to Relationships
There was a clear relationship between gambling and the harm experienced by those who gambled with their partners. These impacts included relationship conflict, breakdown and disruption as well as financial costs associated with gambling. Moreover, second order harms related to shame and stigma were also reported frequently.
These harms were experienced by those who gambled as well as their partners and their children. These effects largely stemmed from issues of time and trust, but also reflected the personal or cultural perceptions of gambling as deviant or unacceptable behaviour.
A further category of harms related to a sense of safety and security. Those who were affected by gambling mainly felt that it was unsafe to have these products in their home. They feared harassment by creditors (legal and illegal) or being stalked in their own homes.
This category of harms is also impacted by other factors such as poor financial management, the need for additional time to manage gambling activities and a reduction in discretionary income. These financial impacts can affect people’s ability to meet their basic needs, and subsequently impact on their ability to maintain positive relationships and contribute positively to their communities.