Gambling is an activity whereby something of value, such as money, is risked on the outcome of an event with an element of chance. This can be done in many different ways including buying lottery tickets, cards, dice, casino games, instant scratch-off tickets, races or animal tracks, sports events, and slots. While gambling can have some negative side effects, it also offers many benefits such as socialization, mental development, and skill improvement.
While it may be tempting to gamble in order to win back a previous loss, this is called “chasing losses.” This can lead to other behavioral problems such as lying to family members, and even engaging in criminal activities to fund gambling. It can also cause financial strain and even ruin personal relationships.
Some studies suggest that relapse prevention is associated with clinically favorable outcomes in terms of reducing time and money spent on gambling. Other studies have found that relapse prevention in combination with cognitive therapy (e.g., cognitive correction) is superior to a no-treatment control group for gambling disorder.
If you know someone with a problem with gambling, it is important to talk about it. However, it is vital to do this in a supportive manner. Being deceptive, judgmental or aggressive will only make the person defensive and less willing to open up about the issue. It is also a good idea to encourage the person to seek professional help. If you are concerned about a loved one’s gambling habits, contact a gambling helpline for information on how to get help in your area.