How Gambling Can Become a Problem

Gambling involves risking money or possessions on something unpredictable, such as the roll of a dice, spin of a roulette wheel or outcome of a horse race. It can range from putting bets on football matches or horse races with friends in private to sophisticated casino gambling and everything in between.

For some people, though, it can become an addictive behaviour. This can be because of a number of things, including genetic predispositions and the way the brain responds to gambling:

Over time, those who gamble regularly can develop a tolerance to the dopamine-generated euphoria that gambling produces. They then need to gamble more and more in order to feel that same buzz. This can lead to problems like hiding their addiction, lying to family and work and spending excessive amounts of time and money on gambling.

Developing a gambling problem can strain relationships, affect work and result in financial disaster. It can also lead to other problems, such as substance abuse or depression.

Having a plan and sticking to it can help prevent gambling becoming a problem. The key is to only ever gamble with disposable income, and not money that you need for essentials like rent or bills. It’s also a good idea to make sure that you have a friend to turn to for support when you need it. You can also try distraction techniques. Postponing the urge to gamble by counting to five, or putting it off for fifteen minutes or an hour, can help, as can visualising the consequences of your actions, such as ruining your credit record or disappointing your family.

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