Gambling is an activity in which you place a bet on an event that could happen, such as a football match or buying a scratchcard. The odds are set by the betting company and determine how much money you can win if your bet is successful. The odds are typically displayed on the front of the bet slip and must be matched to the type of bet you’re placing. For example, if you’re betting on a football match, the odds will be displayed as ’5/1′ or ’2/1′.
A large number of benefits have been associated with gambling, but there are also some negatives. For example, some people who gamble become dependent on the addiction and end up losing control of their finances. This can lead to debt and even bankruptcy. However, there are ways to overcome the addiction and recover your financial health. One way is to seek help from a debt advisor at StepChange, who can offer free and confidential advice.
In the past, the psychiatric community generally regarded pathological gambling as more of a compulsion than an addiction, but in recent years, the American Psychiatric Association has moved it to the section on impulse-control disorders alongside other conditions like kleptomania and trichotillomania (hair pulling). However, recognizing the need for better treatment options for gambling addiction has been a slower process.
While the societal impacts of gambling have been extensively researched, the psychological and behavioral effects are relatively unknown. Longitudinal studies are important for identifying these, but they are difficult to mount due to the huge investment required for a multiyear study and challenges with achieving adequate sample size and minimizing attrition.
Gambling has been associated with depressive mood, and research shows that up to 50% of pathological gamblers have a lifetime history of depression. Depression is also likely to co-occur with other psychiatric disorders, including anxiety and bipolar disorder.
If you’re having problems with gambling, it’s important to have a strong support network. Reach out to your friends and family, or consider joining a group, such as Gamblers Anonymous. A program modeled after Alcoholics Anonymous, Gamblers Anonymous can help you find a sponsor who’s experienced in staying free from gambling and will provide guidance and support. You can also look into inpatient or residential treatment and rehab programs, aimed at those who are struggling with severe gambling addictions and need round-the-clock support. In these facilities, you’ll be able to take the time and space needed to break the cycle of addiction and work on recovery. You may relapse from time to time, but the key is to keep trying and never give up. It takes courage and strength to admit you have a gambling problem, especially if your gambling has cost you money and strained or damaged relationships. But you’re not alone; many others have battled the same issues and rebuilt their lives. It’s never too late to get the help you need.