Gambling involves risking something of value (usually money) on an event whose outcome depends mostly on chance or luck, rather than skill. It can take many forms, including casino games such as slots and roulette, sports betting, lottery games, poker, and online gambling. The primary motive for most gamblers is to win cash prizes.
While gambling can provide enjoyment and a sense of accomplishment, it also has several negative impacts on gamblers’ health, relationships, work performance, and educational achievements. It can lead to serious debt, bankruptcy, and even homelessness. It can also cause stress and depression. Gambling can also hurt family, friends, and coworkers, especially when someone starts lying or stealing to fund their habit.
Getting help for a gambling problem is easier than you think. There are many support groups and recovery programs available. Some are modeled after Alcoholics Anonymous, and others use peer mentorship. These groups can give you the encouragement and guidance you need to break free of your addiction.
If you’re struggling with a gambling addiction, start by strengthening your support network. Spend time with non-gambling friends, join a book or sports club, enroll in a class, or volunteer for a cause. You can also try a self-help program such as Gamblers Anonymous, a 12-step recovery program based on the model of Alcoholics Anonymous. You can also find a sponsor, a former gambler who has experience remaining free from gambling and can offer invaluable advice.