Gambling is a type of risky activity that involves placing a bet on an event with the intent of winning money. It can be done in many different forms, such as football betting, playing a scratchcard or even gambling on the outcome of a lottery.
It can be a fun way to pass time, but it can also become a serious problem if you or someone you know gets addicted. It can lead to financial problems, legal issues and a poor quality of life for the person who is afflicted with it.
The first step is to talk about the issue and try to understand why your loved one is gambling. They may have a coping strategy – for example, because they feel more confident, or because it helps them forget their worries. But that doesn’t absolve them of responsibility.
You may need to set limits on how much money they can spend. You should never give them more money than they can afford to lose and you should always set boundaries for how long they can spend at the casino or on a gambling website.
Changing the behaviour of your loved one isn’t easy, but it is important to do it for their wellbeing. It can be helpful to encourage them to seek help from a professional, especially if they are struggling with an underlying mental health condition or addiction.
They may need to take medication to control their impulses and feelings, or they may benefit from therapy. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can help them recognise unhealthy gambling thoughts and behaviors, and can teach them how to resist their urges.
Inpatient or residential treatment and rehab programs are often recommended for those who are severely addicted to gambling and who cannot avoid it without help. These programs focus on addressing any underlying mental health conditions or substance abuse that are contributing to the problem and helping the patient break their gambling habit.
It is possible to develop a gambling disorder in anyone, but it is more common among teenagers and college-aged people. Various national and international research studies have shown that this group is more likely to suffer from gambling-related problems than older populations.
A person with a gambling disorder will often continue to gamble despite the consequences, including repeated social problems and financial issues. They might also feel a compulsion to gamble and crave the thrill of the action. They might also feel a sense of shame about their gambling and have difficulty making the decision to stop.
If you think your loved one is having a problem, get them in touch with a support worker at the local Gambling Treatment Centre. They can offer advice on how to talk to your loved one, and they will be able to recommend effective treatments.
They can also support you in identifying the underlying reasons for the problem and can offer information on local resources for support. It can be difficult to cope with a loved one’s gambling, but it is worth reaching out for help as soon as you notice any signs of an addiction.