How to Cope With a Gambling Problem

Gambling is risking something of value to predict the outcome of an event involving chance, such as a football match or a scratchcard. The chances of winning are determined by the ‘odds’ set by the betting company, for example 5/1 or 2/1. The more you win, the more money you can get – but the key to gambling is knowing when to stop and not chasing your losses.

It can feel impossible to cope with a loved one’s addiction to gambling, especially when their behavior affects the whole family. But addressing the issue head-on is key to helping them recover from their disorder. If they need support, you can suggest calling a helpline or seeing a mental health professional, or even joining Gamblers Anonymous.

Managing your time is also crucial to avoiding problematic gambling. Make a rule that you’ll only gamble for a certain amount of time per day and keep it consistent. This way, you can be sure that when your allocated time is up, you’ll stop. You should also avoid spending more than you can afford to lose and never use credit to fund your gambling.

Remember that there are many different forms of gambling and that not all of them are regulated or legal. Young people are particularly vulnerable to developing a gambling problem, as are those with lower incomes who may have more to gain from a big win than the wealthy. Vulnerability is increased when combined with mood disorders such as depression or stress, which can both trigger problems and be made worse by compulsive gambling.