Whether it’s buying a lotto ticket, placing a bet on the horses or using pokies, gambling is always risky and often ends up causing harm. There are no FDA-approved medications to treat gambling disorders, but therapy, family and peer support and self-help groups can all help. It’s important to understand why you gamble, so you can make better decisions about what kind of betting you do.
It’s important to remember that gambling is a game of chance, and winning or losing is entirely down to luck. This includes activities like lotteries, cards, casinos, bingo, instant scratch tickets and online gambling. In fact, all games of chance involve a degree of gambling because they require the wagering of something of value (usually money) on an event with an uncertain outcome, and the primary intent is to win additional money or material goods.
Changing your gambling habits is possible, but it takes commitment and hard work. One of the best ways to break the habit is to focus on other activities that you enjoy and to avoid thinking about gambling. You may also need to seek professional advice, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), which looks at the beliefs you hold about betting and can change how you think about it. This can help you stop chasing your losses, which is when you start believing you’re due to get lucky and win back the money you’ve lost. It’s also helpful to have a strong support network, and you can join a peer support group such as Gamblers Anonymous.