Gambling is a popular pastime with high stakes, but it can also be dangerous. Many people have lost not just their money, but their families, friendships and careers as a result of gambling addiction. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to stop this problem before it spirals out of control, including psychotherapy and debt advice.
In the past, research into the relationship between gambling and mental health has produced conflicting results, with some studies suggesting that gambling can lead to depression, while others report no connection at all. However, it’s important to note that depressive mood is often present in pathological gamblers, and some studies have indicated that the onset of depression typically precedes the onset of gambling problems.
There is no medication available to treat gambling disorder, but several forms of psychotherapy can be useful. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can help with this, as it looks at the beliefs and thoughts that might contribute to gambling problems. For example, people with gambling disorders may believe they’re more likely to win than they really are, or that certain rituals can bring them luck. CBT can help them challenge these beliefs and change their behaviours.
Other types of psychotherapy, such as hypnotherapy and psychodynamic therapy, can be helpful in breaking down the underlying issues that might cause someone to gamble. During these sessions, a professional therapist will talk through the underlying issues that might be causing a person to feel compelled to gamble. They can also offer practical strategies for managing stress and finding other ways to spend time.
While the majority of gambling takes place in casinos, it’s also possible to bet on sports events, horse races, and other games with tickets and other materials that can be traded for cash or merchandise. In fact, it is estimated that worldwide betting turnover is around $10 trillion, with organised football pools and state-licensed lotteries among the most common forms of legal gambling.
It’s also possible to gamble online with real money, with a number of websites offering casino games and other types of betting on different events. However, there are some risks involved with gambling online, and it’s important to be aware of them. To reduce the risk of losing too much money, you should set a budget before you start playing and try not to exceed it. You should also only play on websites that are licensed and regulated by your country’s gambling authority.
There is also a strong link between gambling and suicide, so if you have a friend or family member with a gambling problem, it’s important to look out for signs of suicidal behaviour. You can find support for yourself or a loved one through family therapy, debt counselling and peer support groups such as Gamblers Anonymous. If you need further support, you can also contact StepChange for free debt advice.