Gambling is when you risk something of value – money, belongings or your time – in an attempt to predict the outcome of a game involving chance (such as scratchcards, fruit machines or betting with friends). It can be a fun pastime but it becomes a problem when the urge to gamble starts to dominate your life, interferes with work and relationships, causes you to miss out on important activities and causes financial difficulties. Compulsive gambling is a serious condition and can be dangerous to your health, cause debt and even lead to homelessness.
People turn to gambling to cope with a range of emotions, including boredom, stress, anxiety and family problems. It can also be a way to make new friends and socialise. However, there’s nothing wrong with having hobbies that take your mind off things and generate a sense of endorphin, so long as it’s done in moderation.
Signs of a gambling addiction include spending more than you can afford to lose, lying to family members and counsellors to conceal the extent of your involvement, using drugs or alcohol to alleviate the symptoms of your gambling habit, stealing money or valuables to finance your gambling, and hiding evidence of your addiction. Other signs of a gambling problem can include skipping work or studying to spend more time gambling, withdrawing from family and friends, hiding credit cards and other assets and neglecting children. If you or someone you know is suffering from a gambling addiction, Counselling Directory can help. Our trained and experienced therapists are here to support you.