Gambling involves risking something of value (usually money) on an event whose outcome is determined by chance. It may be as simple as placing a bet on a football team to win a match or buying a scratchcard. The person who gambles must consider the odds (the chance of winning) and decide how much they are willing to bet, then place their bet. The winner is the person who wagers more than they lose.
It’s possible for people to get addicted to gambling. Having an addiction to gambling can negatively impact your health, family life and work performance. It can also lead to debt and even homelessness. If you feel that your gambling is out of control, you can seek help from one of our counsellors. They’re free, confidential and available 24/7.
When you gamble, your brain releases dopamine, a feel-good neurotransmitter. It’s the same feeling that you might experience after eating a big meal, after a workout or socialising with friends. But when gambling becomes a problem, this dopamine release can cause you to feel intensely excited for a short period of time, even when you are losing.
If you’re struggling with a gambling addiction, try to only gamble with disposable income (money that you can afford to lose) rather than money that needs to be saved for things like rent or bills. Also, set money and time limits for yourself, and stick to them. This helps to prevent a relapse. If you do relapse, try to learn from your mistakes and continue working towards recovery. You might find it helpful to join a support group such as Gamblers Anonymous, which offers guidance and advice for those with an addictive gambling disorder.