Gambling is an activity in which something of value is risked on a random event with the aim of winning something else of value. It is a very common pastime and can offer a rush when things go in your favour, but it’s important to remember that you will probably lose most of the time. Harmful gambling can cause problems for individuals and their families and lead to debt, criminal activity, hiding behaviour and even suicide.
Gamblers often take on more risks than they can afford to take and end up spending more money than they have. This is known as compulsive gambling, and if left untreated it can have serious consequences for a person’s health, wellbeing and relationships. People with mental health issues may be particularly at risk of gambling problems, and if you’re experiencing a mental health crisis it’s worth talking to a counsellor for help.
For those who are suffering with a gambling problem, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can be used to look at how you think about betting, your beliefs around it and your habits. It can also be useful in addressing issues around emotional regulation. For example, if you are often angry or depressed after losing, CBT can teach you better ways of managing those emotions in healthy and productive ways. This could include exercise, spending time with friends who don’t gamble, or learning relaxation techniques.