Gambling is a popular pastime, but it can also be harmful. It can cause people to spend more than they have and it can leave them with money they can’t afford to pay off. It can also have a negative impact on their mental health and social life, as well as on their relationships.
The most important thing to do if you are addicted to gambling is to get help as soon as possible. This can be in the form of a treatment program, or a support group.
Overcoming a gambling addiction is a long, hard journey. You may slip from time to time, but it’s essential that you keep on working towards recovery. This is best done with the guidance and support of a specialist in gambling addictions and mental health issues.
Understanding why you gamble is key to making positive changes in your behaviour. It helps you to recognise the signs that your behaviour is becoming problematic and it can also motivate you to stop.
Some people gamble to reduce stress, or to relax and take their minds off problems. Others play to achieve a goal or dream of winning a jackpot.
A person’s motivation can affect their mood, and they can also feel euphoria when they win, linked to the brain’s reward system.
There are also psychological benefits from gambling, which include reduced anxiety, stress and depression. It can also increase your concentration and improve your intelligence by stimulating different areas of the brain.
It can also reduce impulsive behaviour and help you to avoid a binge, which is the point where a person’s spending becomes uncontrollable.
Overcoming a gambling addiction can be difficult, but it’s worth fighting for. A therapist can assist you with this and teach you strategies to help you stick to a healthier lifestyle.
Your family and friends can also be a big help in this regard, as they can help you to make healthier decisions about your gambling. For example, they can encourage you to set a limit on your spending or restrict the amount of time you spend gambling.
A professional can also help you if you are struggling to stop gambling for any other reason, such as when there’s a co-occurring mental health disorder, such as depression, bipolar or ADHD. They can also help you to develop new ways of dealing with your problem so that it doesn’t affect your everyday life.
The Commission’s independent research programme is helping to understand what works to prevent and treat gambling harms. This will inform the strategy and enable commissioning bodies to base funding and prioritisation on evidence.
This will be important as we move forward and build a comprehensive national treatment and support offer that meets the needs of current and future service users. It will involve the development of a clear, practical and evidence-based recommendation that is proportionate to the risk of harm, and provides the right mix of interventions for people who are experiencing gambling harms.