Mental Health and Gambling

Gambling is risking something of value (like money) on a random event that has an undetermined outcome, such as a football match or a scratchcard. It can be done online, at brick-and-mortar casinos, and even in private games. Gambling is often heavily regulated and taxed, with governments and gambling companies having a close relationship.

Those with mental health problems may be more likely to engage in harmful gambling behaviour. However, a number of other factors, such as coping styles and social learning and beliefs around betting, could also lead to problem gambling.

For some people, gambling can be an enjoyable pastime, especially when they win big. But it’s important to keep in mind that you’ll likely lose as well as win, so make sure you budget for this. This way you won’t be surprised by a big loss or feel that you’re being ripped off.

If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, it’s important to get help. There are a range of treatments available, including cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), which will look at the beliefs and coping skills that can influence problematic gambling. It’s also a good idea to strengthen your support network, set limits in managing money and consider joining a peer support group such as Gamblers Anonymous. There are many healthy ways to relieve unpleasant feelings, such as exercise, spending time with non-gambling friends, taking up a new hobby or practicing relaxation techniques.