The world’s gambling market is estimated to reach a total value of approximately $10 trillion dollars annually. While the illegal market may be even larger, this figure is probably close to accurate. Among legal gambling activities, lotteries are the most popular. In the late 20th century, state-licensed lotteries exploded in popularity throughout Europe and the United States. Organized football pools are found in nearly every European country, many South American countries, and even some African and Asian countries. Most countries also allow state-licensed wagering on other sporting events.
A person experiencing a gambling problem may think of suicide. In such cases, call 999 immediately or visit A&E for help. Gambling is more harmful to people with mental health conditions than to those without it. People who have problems with depression, anxiety, or self-esteem may use gambling as a distraction or a way to feel better. Other common causes of gambling addiction are financial crises and emotional issues. StepChange is a free debt-assistance service that can help those experiencing a gambling problem.
Counseling is a great option for people struggling with a gambling problem. Counselors help individuals understand the behavior and work to eliminate it. There are no FDA-approved medications for gambling disorders, but they may help treat co-occurring disorders. Family and friends support is often key to overcoming a gambling disorder. Ultimately, the decision to stop gambling lies with the individual, but seeking help is vital. The National Helpline is 1-800-662-HELP (4357).
People with gambling problems may gamble secretly, or may lie about their gambling habits to avoid embarrassment. If they are unable to stop gambling, they may feel compelled to continue until they have no money left to gamble. Other ways to avoid gambling problems are to exercise, spend time with friends who are not into gambling, and practice relaxation techniques. Ultimately, this may lead to the person’s gambling problem to become more severe and problematic.
While gambling is a fun pastime, when it becomes an unhealthy obsession, it can damage relationships, careers, and finances. If not addressed, a gambling problem can lead to a financial disaster, including gambling addiction. It is not uncommon for someone to lose everything in the process, resulting in huge debts or even theft of money. The financial damage is far too great for anyone to ignore. And with the legal consequences of gambling, it can even lead to suicide.
The prevalence of compulsive gambling among Americans has increased in recent years, but men are more likely to develop the problem than women. Increasing rates of gambling in women has also made gambling patterns between men and women more similar. Other risk factors may include family or friend influence and medications for conditions such as restless leg syndrome and Parkinson’s disease. Additionally, certain personality traits may contribute to the development of compulsive gambling, including impulsivity.
To avoid gambling, the first step is to make a decision. If you are tempted by a particular casino game, resisted the temptation. Also, if you cannot afford to lose, make sure you have enough money to cover your losses. Eliminate your credit cards, transfer your funds to a family member, or close your online accounts. Lastly, keep only a small amount of cash in your wallet. Lastly, keep your gambling to a minimum.