How to Cope With a Gambling Problem

Gambling involves risking something of value on an event with an element of randomness or chance. It can include activities such as card games, fruit machines, slot machines, casino games, two-up, betting on horse races, football accumulators and other sports events. Gambling may also include speculating on business, insurance or stock markets.

Traditionally gambling has been seen as immoral and has been largely suppressed by law in many countries. However, recent years have seen a softening of attitudes and relaxation of laws. Many people gamble for fun and enjoy the adrenaline rush of winning. Others do so for more serious reasons including to relieve boredom or stress.

It can be hard to cope with a loved one who has a gambling problem and it is important not to get angry or blame them. Instead, try to understand their motivation and why they are gambling. There are many factors that may affect someone’s behaviour such as an early big win, boredom susceptibility, impulsivity, poor understanding of the odds, use of escape coping and depression. It is also helpful to find out more about the treatment options available for gambling addiction. Then you can encourage your loved one to seek help. You might be surprised to learn that many other families have experienced the same issues and they can provide a great deal of support. You could also encourage them to learn how to manage moods and relieve boredom in healthier ways such as exercising, spending time with non-gambling friends or practising relaxation techniques.