Gambling involves betting something of value, with the conscious acceptance of risk and the hope of gain. It is a common activity that provides individuals with entertainment and socialization. It also helps stimulate the economy by providing jobs and tax revenue.
Individuals who have psychological or mental health issues may find gambling a way to self-soothe unpleasant feelings. They may use it to unwind after a stressful day or following an argument with their partner, to relax, or to socialize. However, there are healthier ways to relieve unpleasant feelings. These include exercising, spending time with friends who do not gamble, taking up a new hobby, or practicing relaxation techniques.
People with low incomes are particularly vulnerable to developing a gambling disorder. Young people are another group at high risk. Gambling can also have negative impacts on relationships and work performance. If you notice that your relationship with your friends and family is deteriorating or your job is suffering because of your gambling habits, it’s important to seek help.
Many people who have a gambling problem can benefit from psychotherapy. This can involve one-on-one therapy with a psychologist, or group therapy. Other psychotherapies that can be useful in treating gambling disorder are behavioural therapy, which addresses unhelpful behaviours, and psychodynamic therapy, which looks at how unconscious processes influence your actions. You can also call Gambler’s Help on 1800 858 858 for counselling and advice. This service is free and anonymous.