Gambling involves staking something of value (usually money) on a random event with the hope of winning a prize. There are many different types of gambling, from games of chance like scratchcards and fruit machines to betting with friends.
While gambling can be an exciting and social activity, for some people it can become a serious problem. If you or someone you know is struggling with a gambling disorder, it’s important to seek help.
A common feature of gambling is a disproportionately high return on investment, compared to the amount invested. This can be caused by a number of factors, including psychological and social problems, financial hardship or debt, and a lack of coping skills.
The disproportionately high return on investment often leads to feelings of addiction and compulsive behaviour. This can lead to problems with money, work and relationships. In severe cases, gambling can also be associated with thoughts of suicide. If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call 999 or go to A&E immediately.
There are a number of different treatments for gambling disorders, including cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). CBT can look at beliefs about betting, such as the gambler’s fallacy (the mistaken idea that if something has happened more recently it is less likely to happen again). It can also be used to address issues with self-esteem, self-worth and self-confidence. Often, the biggest step in recovering from a gambling disorder is admitting that there’s a problem and seeking support.