Gambling involves risking something of value on an uncertain event that is not under the control of the gambler, such as the roll of a dice or the outcome of a horse race. While gambling can involve a high degree of strategy, the key to winning is often determined by chance. This element of randomness can cause many people to feel the thrill of victory and the fear of losing, which can lead them to gamble more than they should. Historically, gambling was illegal and had a negative reputation, but today, it has become more popular than ever. It is now possible to gamble from anywhere, on any type of event, and in many cases, you don’t even need to leave your house.
Traditionally, research on gambling has focused on the financial costs of gambling and not on its social impacts. However, concentrating solely on problem gambling is only looking at the tip of the iceberg. Using a public health approach, it is necessary to examine the full range of impacts and costs of gambling including those that impact individuals’ significant others. Those impacts can be categorized as internal and external. Internal impacts occur at the individual level and include invisible, nonmonetary costs that are psychological, behavioral or emotional in nature, while external impacts occur at the family/interpersonal, community/society and long-term levels.
A wide range of treatment options exist for gambling disorders. These include counseling, self-help tips and support groups. It’s important to get help as soon as you can, before your gambling starts to affect other areas of your life.