What is Gambling and How Can it Affect You?

Gambling is an activity in which a person places something of value, such as money or property, on the outcome of a game, a contest, or an uncertain event. It is an international, multibillion-dollar industry that includes casinos, racetracks, and online gambling websites.

It is also a common form of recreation among friends and family members in a private setting. In these instances, the wagers are often small and meant as entertainment and social interaction. Some examples include card games like poker, blackjack, and spades, or board games such as chess and scrabble. People may also place bets on the outcome of sporting events, such as horse races or football games, via organized pools or state-licensed lotteries.

While gambling is an enjoyable pastime for many people, it can cause problems for some individuals. Problem gambling can damage one’s physical and mental health, strain or break relationships, interfere with work or school performance, and lead to legal issues and homelessness. The risk of developing a gambling disorder is higher for those with lower incomes, young adults, and men. It is estimated that about half of all suicides are associated with gambling disorders.

There are a number of warning signs that indicate that someone is struggling with a gambling addiction. These include: being secretive about gambling; lying to family members, therapists, or others to conceal the extent of one’s involvement in gambling; feeling that it is necessary to gamble in order to feel happy or fulfilled; and returning to gambling after losing money in an attempt to get even (chasing losses).

If you suspect that you or someone you know has a gambling disorder, help is available. Seek professional counseling from a therapist who specializes in treating gambling disorder. BetterHelp’s free online service matches you with a therapist who can help you overcome your gambling addiction and deal with related mood disorders, such as depression, anxiety, and stress.

In addition to individual therapy, family therapy and marriage, career, and credit counseling can help you work through the specific issues that are causing or making the gambling disorder worse. These counseling services can help you reclaim your life and build healthy relationships that are based on mutual respect. While it takes tremendous strength to admit that you have a gambling problem, many people have successfully broken the habit and rebuilt their lives. To begin your journey to recovery, take our assessment and be matched with a therapist in just 48 hours. No waiting lists. No contracts. Just quality therapy, at your convenience.