Gambling is an activity where a person risks something of value, usually money, in an attempt to win. It is often a fun and social activity, but for some people it can become an addiction and cause harm. This can affect their health, family, work and relationships. The harms can include cardiac and musculoskeletal problems, gambling-related psychosomatic symptoms, psychological distress and substance misuse. They can also lead to financial difficulties such as debt, bankruptcy and homelessness.
There are a number of steps that can be taken to help someone who is struggling with a gambling problem. These can include talking to somebody who won’t judge you, such as a friend or a counsellor, and trying to reduce the risk factors. This might involve limiting your bankroll, not using credit cards, keeping only a small amount of cash on you and cutting up cards that remind you of gambling. It can also be helpful to identify the triggers that make you want to gamble and try to find alternative ways to get that feeling of adrenaline, such as exercising or spending time with friends who don’t gamble.
Residential addiction treatment can also be an option, which can provide the space and professional support that you need to begin your recovery. This includes group and one-to-one therapy sessions, seminars, workshops and individual working time to address the impact of gambling on you and those around you, recognise your triggers for addictive behaviour and develop a range of coping strategies for overcoming gambling in the future.