Gambling is the act of placing something of value, usually money, on an event that has a chance of happening, with the intent to win something else of value. The most common form of gambling is placing bets on sporting events, horse races, cards, dice and lottery tickets. While gambling is a popular activity for many people, some individuals become addicted and engage in pathological gambling, which has serious social, health and financial consequences.
Research into gambling impacts can be conducted using different approaches, but most studies focus on monetary cost-benefit analysis (CBA) – an approach that disregards benefits and ignores social impact. This is a problem, because the negative effects of gambling often have a greater impact than the benefits.
To avoid becoming a problem gambler, never gamble with money that you can’t afford to lose, and always stop when you have reached your betting limits. It’s also important to learn to relieve unpleasant feelings in healthier ways, such as exercising, spending time with friends who don’t gamble, or practicing relaxation techniques.
If you do think you have a gambling problem, seek help as soon as possible. There are various counselling services available, including family therapy, marriage counseling, career and credit counseling, which can help you work through the specific issues caused by your addiction and rebuild relationships and finances. These counselling services can also teach you healthier coping mechanisms so you can avoid gambling in the future.