How to Prevent Gambling Becomes a Problem


Gambling is an activity where people risk their money or belongings in the hope of winning something else of value. It can take many forms – from buying lottery tickets to betting on football matches, from the casual betting of poor people with low incomes to the sophisticated casino gambling of the wealthy. It is an addictive activity that is often a source of social problems, including poverty and addiction.

The main causes of problem gambling include the desire to win, the thrill and excitement associated with gambling, and the use of it as a way of forgetting unpleasant or stressful feelings. It is estimated that three to four percent of the population are affected by gambling-related problems, and that one problem gambler affects at least seven other individuals – including their spouses, children, extended family members and friends.

There are a number of things you can do to help prevent gambling becoming a problem. Start by only ever gambling with disposable income, not money that you need to pay bills or rent. Try to balance gambling with other activities, and do not gamble when you are depressed, upset or in pain. You should also set a time limit for how long you are going to gamble, and leave when you reach that time limit, regardless of whether you are winning or losing.

It is also important to know how gambling affects your brain and what triggers problematic behaviour. For example, research shows that the release of dopamine – the feel-good neurotransmitter – is activated during gambling and can trigger addictive behaviours. In addition, gambling can be very addictive because it is a habit-forming activity, and it takes a lot of willpower to break the habit.

While there are a number of benefits to gambling, it is important to be aware of the risks. Problem gambling can lead to serious financial difficulties and can cause significant harm to individuals, families and communities. In addition, it can have a negative impact on work performance and health and well-being. It is important to recognise the signs and symptoms of problem gambling, and to seek help and support if necessary.

It is also helpful to understand the reasons why a loved one might choose to gamble. For example, some people gamble as a way to relieve boredom or to pass the time, while others may gamble because it makes them feel confident and self-confident. In these cases, it is important to find other ways of relieving unpleasant emotions and reducing boredom, such as exercising, spending time with friends who don’t gamble, or trying relaxation techniques. This will help you avoid the urge to gamble in unhealthy situations.