Gambling is a risky activity that can take a huge toll on your finances and mental health. It can also cause serious harm to you and your loved ones.
Identifying gambling problems can be difficult, but it’s possible to recognise a problem and get help. Fortunately, there are a number of criteria that professionals use to diagnose gambling problems and addiction.
The DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) lists gambling disorder alongside other addictive behaviors. The criteria includes a person’s desire to gamble, how much money they spend on gambling, and the impact it has on their life.
Adolescents may be at greater risk of gambling problems than adults. This is because they are often impulsive and have a limited range of emotional control.
A common reason why someone might develop a gambling problem is because they are experiencing financial difficulties. This can be caused by debt or a lack of income and is one of the most common reasons why people seek advice from StepChange.
Getting help can make a real difference to the way you live your life and it’s important to seek support when you are struggling with your finances. You can speak to a free, confidential counsellor at StepChange.
Set limits on how much and how long you gamble. This will help you to avoid gambling addiction and keep your spending under control.
Only gamble with what you can afford to lose. This means you shouldn’t gamble with your weekly entertainment budget or any other money that needs to be saved for bills and rent.
Understand the odds of the game and how it works.
All forms of gambling involve risk – you can’t guarantee that you will win. This can be particularly true of games such as scratchcards and football betting, where the outcome is largely determined by chance.
Understanding the odds of the game will help you to play more responsibly and ensure that your money isn’t wasted. It’s also worth examining the different types of gambling available to you, so that you can choose one that suits your needs and preferences.
Limit your time spent on gambling
It can be very easy to get wrapped up in gambling, especially if you are playing online or at an event. The best way to avoid this is by setting a time limit, and then stopping when you reach it.
Don’t chase your losses
If you start losing money, stop gambling immediately and don’t try to make up for it by playing more. Usually, this will only lead to bigger and more frequent losses.
Don’t hide your gambling from others
Gambling is a social activity that is often done with friends and family. It can be fun and it can provide a sense of escapism. However, if it starts taking over your life and is causing you harm, it’s worth seeking help from a professional.
Reset your expectations
Gambling can be a great way to relax and have fun. It can also help you to have a better understanding of your own emotions and feelings, which can make it easier to deal with difficult times in your life.