Gambling is a form of betting where a person risks something of value (usually money) on an event with the intention of winning something else of value. It is a popular activity, with many people gambling in casinos and online. People gamble for a variety of reasons, including socialising and trying to win big. For some, however, gambling can become a problem.
People who have a history of addiction or other mental health problems may be more likely to develop an unhealthy gambling habit. Genetic predisposition and a family history of addiction can also increase the likelihood of developing an addictive behaviour.
Depending on the person’s situation, harmful gambling can have a negative impact on both their personal and professional life. Some people can lose their jobs as a result of their gambling addiction, while others may suffer financial difficulties. In some cases, harmful gambling can even lead to bankruptcy.
There are several ways to help someone with a gambling addiction, from psychotherapy to family therapy and debt counselling. Counselling can help an individual break down the barriers that are preventing them from overcoming their addiction and finding the courage to seek help.
Harmful gambling can also put a strain on relationships, particularly when it affects children. Children can be left feeling confused, angry and betrayed as the person with the gambling problem prioritises their gambling over other commitments. This can cause long-lasting damage, particularly if the person with the gambling disorder has a co-occurring mental health condition.
Keeping up regular contact with friends and spending time doing things you enjoy can also help to prevent you from becoming consumed by someone else’s gambling behaviour. It is important to communicate with the person causing you harm and make sure they know how their actions are affecting you, but be careful not to apportion blame as this can be confusing for them. A therapist can also help you to understand the underlying causes of their behaviour, such as their anxiety or depression. This can be an effective way of helping them overcome their addiction and improving your relationship with them.