Gambling involves wagering something of value on an event with the intent of winning another item of value. The event could be anything from a football game, to buying a scratchcard, and the outcome is determined by chance. It is important to understand that gambling is an activity that can lead to harm, especially if it is compulsive.
A person’s decision to gamble is based on the likelihood of winning and losing and the ratio of risk to reward. This is why it is important to gamble with only money that can be genuinely afforded to lose, and not to borrow or spend more than you can afford to repay. It is also essential to set money and time limits, and never chase your losses as this will only lead to more problems.
Many people who have a problem with gambling also struggle with other mood disorders, such as depression or anxiety. These underlying conditions can trigger gambling issues and may make them worse, so it is essential to seek treatment for these disorders as well as addressing your gambling.
A behavioural approach to treating problem gambling has been shown to be effective, including cognitive-behaviour therapy and exposure therapy. These therapies focus on challenging irrational beliefs and behaviours, such as thinking that a streak of losses is “good luck” or that the next spin of a slot machine is bound to be a winner. They can be delivered in both group and individual sessions.