Gambling involves risking something of value, like money or property, on an event whose outcome is determined at least in part by chance. It may sound harmless, but gambling can have serious negative consequences, especially when it is compulsive and excessive.
In addition to financial problems, people with gambling disorder can have a negative impact on their health and relationships. The health consequences of gambling can include depression, anxiety, stress and other mental health conditions. Relationships can also be strained as someone who is addicted to gambling may lie about their activities, or even steal to feed their habit. Some people who are addicted to gambling will also downplay or deny that their behaviour is causing harm, and this can cause family and friends to distance themselves from them.
The good news is that it is possible to gamble responsibly and enjoy the entertainment value without causing yourself any harm. The key is to only gamble with money that you can afford to lose, and to stop when you have reached your limits. It is also important to never chase your losses, as this will usually lead to bigger and more costly mistakes.
There are many ways to help someone who is struggling with gambling disorder. A therapist can offer psychotherapy, which can help them understand their relationship with gambling and learn to change it. The therapist can also recommend support groups, which are an invaluable source of moral support.