Whether you buy a lottery ticket, play online casino games or place a bet on the pokies, gambling involves risking money for the chance of winning something more valuable. Gambling can also have serious consequences for family, friends, relationships and careers. Seek help if you feel it is damaging your life.
There are a range of self-help and support options to help people with gambling issues. The first step is often admitting that there is a problem. This can be difficult. People who have a gambling addiction may hide their gambling or lie about how much time and money they spend on it. They may also try to rationalise their behaviour by convincing themselves that it is OK to gamble occasionally or that they can control their gambling.
Secondary prevention involves screening for gambling problems in general practice, community health clinics, hospitals and workplaces. This includes training healthcare professionals on how to identify and refer at-risk and problem gamblers. It also includes promoting and implementing the use of treatment services for gambling problems, including specialised psychological intervention and peer-support groups such as Gamblers Anonymous.
Gambling disorders can be treated in the same way as other addictions, often using cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). CBT looks at how you think about betting, for example believing that certain rituals make you lucky or that you can win back your losses by gambling more. It also addresses compulsive behaviours like chasing losses, which are common in gambling addiction.