Gambling involves risking something of value on an event or game of chance in which the outcome is determined by a random process. Traditionally, it has involved money or property but it can also involve other things of value such as food, clothing and cars. It is important to recognise that gambling can be addictive and lead to serious problems.

There are a number of ways to overcome problem gambling and reduce the risks. These include:

A decision to stop: If you have an urge to gamble, make a conscious decision to stop. Get rid of credit cards, put someone else in charge of your money, close online betting accounts and keep only a small amount of cash with you. Getting support: Find a group that provides peer support to help you stop gambling or attend a meeting of Gamblers Anonymous. Getting professional help: Counseling can be helpful, especially when combined with other treatments such as cognitive behaviour therapy. It can also address co-occurring mood disorders such as depression or anxiety which can make gambling worse.

Seek therapy for underlying conditions: If you are experiencing a mood disorder, treating this may help to resolve your problem with gambling. Many people who struggle with gambling do so as a way to escape their stressful life and they are often unable to recognise that the gamble is causing them harm. Counseling can help you to understand how your mood is affecting your ability to stop gambling and think about the consequences of your behaviour.

Problem gambling is a complex issue that can affect all aspects of your life. It can be difficult to recognise that you have a problem because gambling is often seen as a fun pastime and it is easy to hide your activity. Some people may even lie about how much they are spending or try to hide their gambling from family and friends. However, there are healthy and safe ways to relieve unpleasant feelings such as boredom, loneliness or stress which don’t involve gambling. These can include exercise, socialising with non-gambling friends, taking up new hobbies or practicing relaxation techniques. It is important to learn to recognise when your gambling becomes unhealthy and take action quickly before the problem gets out of hand.