Gambling is a fun activity, but it can also lead to serious harm. It can affect your physical and mental health, relationships and finances and even get you into trouble with the law. The UK’s public health experts estimate that more than 400 suicides are linked to problem gambling each year, which is why it is important to take steps to stop or cut down on your gambling if you think you have a problem.
There is a range of different forms of gambling, including traditional games of chance like lotteries and casinos. Online and mobile gambling, however, is now increasingly common.
Some people may gamble purely for entertainment, while others have a habit of losing money because they are not careful. In some cases, gambling is a way to deal with stress and anxiety, but in others it can be a compulsion or an addiction.
The most obvious sign that your gambling is out of control is if you are spending more than you can afford to lose. If this happens, you should set limits and stick to them. You should not gamble for free or without money and you should never chase your losses.
You should make sure that you understand how gambling works and what your chances of winning are, so you know whether it is worth your while to play. It is also a good idea to set aside money in advance and to set time limits so you don’t have to be constantly thinking about your next bet.
If you have a gambling problem, it’s a good idea to seek help and support. Some forms of treatment, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), can be very effective. These treatments can help you to change how you think and behave, and they can help you learn healthy ways to cope with stress.
Having a good relationship with your family and friends can help. It is a good idea to talk about your gambling with them and explain that it has been having a negative effect on your life. It can also be helpful to have a supportive partner, or to join a self-help group for families such as Gam-Anon.
It is important to recognise that if you have a gambling problem, it is very likely that there are other problems in your life that are making it worse. These may be related to depression, alcohol abuse or other mental health problems. If you have these issues, it is very important to get them treated so that they don’t keep resurfacing when you start to gamble again.
A clear definition of gambling harm is necessary to ensure that policy makers, researchers and health practitioners have a coherent interpretation of the impact of gambling on people’s lives. This was the aim of this project and it aimed to bring together the different disciplines involved in gambling research, in order to develop a common definition of gambling harm that could be used to inform prevention and treatment activities.