Gambling is a popular pastime that can be enjoyable and social, yet it can also become addictive. People gamble for many reasons, including to enjoy a rush or ‘high’, to socialise with friends, or to escape from worries or stress. However, for some people gambling can get out of hand and cause problems in their lives. If you’re worried about your gambling habits, there are ways to seek help and support.

The first step is recognising if you have a problem. This involves thinking about how gambling is affecting your life. Common symptoms include:

A sudden urge to gamble. Trying to make up for lost money by betting more and more. Thinking about gambling even when you’re not feeling well. Gambling more than you can afford to lose, borrowing money to fund your gambling or hiding gambling activities from loved ones.

It’s also important to realise that gambling isn’t always a profitable way to spend your money. It’s often more expensive than other forms of entertainment, and it’s not a good way to save money for the future.

If you’re concerned that your gambling is out of control, it’s important to talk about it with a friend or family member. You can also call a helpline or go to a gambling support group, such as Gamblers Anonymous. Some types of psychotherapy can help people with gambling disorder, too. These can include group therapy, which encourages you to share your experiences with others, and psychodynamic therapy, which looks at how unconscious processes may influence your behaviour.

While some people may not have a problem with gambling, for others it can become a serious issue that can lead to financial, personal and family harm. Gambling can affect your mental health by changing the chemical balance in your brain, which can lead to a range of negative effects.

Whether it’s betting on a football match, buying a lottery ticket or playing the pokies, gambling is all about chance. The odds of winning are calculated based on the probability that an event will occur, and the value of the prize is determined by how much you’re willing to risk.

Gambling is a great form of entertainment, and it’s not just about luck – it’s about how you feel when you win. But, like any other activity, it can be addictive and can lead to harm if not controlled. Here are some tips to keep gambling fun and safe: