Gambling involves risking something of value (money or possessions) on the outcome of a game, a contest, or an uncertain event in which the winner can be determined by chance. People gamble for many different reasons, including entertainment, socializing, or winning money. Some people develop an addiction to gambling.
Pathological gambling has been compared to substance abuse by researchers and treatment clinicians, but the research on this subject is limited because of the lack of control groups. It is also important to note that there are a number of psychological conditions that can cause gambling problems, including depression, stress, and substance abuse.
There are many things you can do to help someone who is struggling with a gambling problem, such as setting limits in managing money, strengthening the support network, and finding healthier ways to relieve unpleasant emotions. You can also encourage them to seek help for underlying mood disorders, which may be contributing to the gambling problem and making it worse.
If you decide to gamble, only gamble with disposable income—money that you can afford to lose. Never gamble with money that is needed for bills or rent, and do not gamble on credit. Set money and time limits, and stop gambling when you hit your limit, whether you are losing or winning. Also, never chase your losses; this is a sure way to end up with bigger losses in the long run. It is also important to take breaks from gambling to refresh yourself.