Gambling is a form of entertainment that involves risking money in order to win. It is considered an addictive behaviour, and can cause harm to individuals and their families.
It can also lead to addiction, financial problems and relationship difficulties. It is important to understand the signs of gambling addiction so that you can identify and get help.
The harm minimisation approach to gambling is a public health focus that seeks to limit the negative impacts of gambling on the individual and their family, without causing a problem for the gambler. However, the term “harm minimisation” is ambiguous and has been used in different ways in the literature since Neal et al’s definition of harm in 2001 [1, 2].
To date, there is no consistent international consensus on a robust and inclusive definition of harm from gambling, or a means of operationalizing it for the purpose of measurement. This ambiguity may impede efforts to address gambling as a public health concern.
A person who has a gambling disorder exhibits abnormal, excessive or compulsive gambling behavior that is characterized by feelings of shame and guilt, difficulty in controlling the behaviour and persistent losses. The symptoms are usually present over a long period of time, are more severe when the person has more money and occur despite their best attempts at controlling the behaviour.
Symptoms of gambling problems can be difficult to recognize and distinguish from other psychological disorders, such as depression or anxiety. If you or a loved one is displaying gambling problems, it is important to discuss them with a qualified therapist. These professionals can provide guidance and treatment to help you manage your gambling, prevent it from getting worse and repair any damage it has caused to your life.
Some people find gambling to be an effective way to relieve unpleasant feelings, such as sadness, stress or boredom. It is important to learn how to relieve these feelings in healthier ways, such as exercising, spending time with friends who don’t gamble, or taking up new hobbies.
There are a number of other ways to reduce the risk of becoming a problem gambler, such as learning how to control your emotions and making sure you have enough funds to avoid falling into debt. You can also work with a financial planner to set up a budget and create a savings plan.
In addition to self-soothing, counseling can help you identify the root causes of your gambling problem. It can also help you work through the specific issues that have been created by your problem gambling and lay the foundation for repairing your relationships, careers, and finances.
The therapist will be able to offer you advice and guidance on how to stop gambling, as well as help you find alternative activities that can give you relief from your cravings. They can also help you develop coping skills, such as stress management and relaxation techniques.
Often, people with gambling problems are co-morbid with other mental health conditions, such as depression and alcohol use. In addition, they are more likely to have poor health or social functioning and be dependent on others for assistance. Depending on the severity of the problem, a therapist may be able to prescribe medications that can help to treat these co-occurring conditions.