Gambling is when people risk money or other things of value in the hope of winning a prize. It can be anything from scratch cards and fruit machines to betting with friends or on sporting events.
It can cause problems for the person gambling, their family and friends, and may lead to serious debt or homelessness. It also affects their work performance, relationships and wellbeing.
You might think that your loved one has an addiction to gambling if they have had to hide their money from you, or if they seem to lose money quickly when they gamble. However, there are different reasons why people gamble and some of these don’t mean they are an addict.
Why they gamble:
Gambling can be a way to relieve stress, take their mind off of things or socialise with friends. But it can also trigger feelings of euphoria linked to the brain’s reward system.
Why they keep gambling:
Gamblers may be unable to stop, or might find it hard to control their behaviour. They might have arguments, feel disappointed or frustrated, and then gamble to try to forget these feelings.
How to help them:
A person with gambling problems needs to take control of their behaviour and make changes. They should get help to understand what is happening and seek support from others who are experiencing similar problems.
If your loved one has a gambling problem, don’t worry – there are people out there who can help them to stop.