Gambling involves betting something of value, with consciousness of risk and hope of gain, on the outcome of a game of chance or an uncertain event. It excludes business transactions based on contracts such as the purchase of stocks and securities or life insurance.
While gambling can be enjoyable in moderation, it can have adverse effects on personal and financial well-being. It can also negatively affect family, work and social life.
It is not a healthy way to relieve unpleasant emotions and boredom. Instead, find healthier ways to self-soothe and unwind such as exercising, spending time with friends who don’t gamble, or practicing relaxation techniques. Gambling also provides socialization, and it may help individuals develop friendships with people who share their interest in gambling.
Many psychological therapies can help people with gambling disorder, such as cognitive behaviour therapy which addresses the illogicality of some gambling beliefs (e.g., odds of winning, and a belief in luck versus skill in non-skills-based games), and psychodynamic therapy which helps people understand how unconscious processes can influence their behavior. Financial counselling may also be helpful in offering alternative ways to manage money and improve financial stability.
If you or someone you know suffers from harmful gambling, seek professional help. Options include family therapy, marital or relationship counseling and legal or credit advice. This can help you address the specific problems caused by the person’s gambling, such as repairing family relationships or changing your will to ensure inheritance is not lost to gambling.