Gambling is the act of wagering something of value on a random event with the intent to win a prize. It involves consideration, risk and chance and is considered to be one of the most addictive behaviours. It is illegal in many countries around the world. Some people can become addicted to gambling for a variety of reasons including stress, depression, anxiety and lack of social support. Those with an addiction to gambling are likely to suffer from other mood disorders and this can lead to further problems with work, family life and self-esteem. It is important for those with an addiction to gambling to seek help.
It is thought that the most effective treatment for this disorder is a combination of cognitive-behavioural therapy and psychotherapy. It is also recommended to try to change your environment as this can make a big difference to the person suffering from an addiction to gambling. It is also suggested that individuals should seek support from a peer group such as Gamblers Anonymous, which is based on the 12-step recovery model used by Alcoholics Anonymous.
Studies show that there is a relationship between impulsivity and gambling. However, research on this topic does not adequately address the extent to which impulsivity and other dimensions of impulse control (i.e. sensation and novelty-seeking, arousal, negative emotionality) are interrelated and influence the initiation and progression of gambling behavior.
Research on the effects of gambling on people’s lives is difficult to carry out because it is often difficult to isolate the cause and effect of gambling activity. A longitudinal design can overcome this limitation by allowing researchers to identify factors that moderate and exacerbate an individual’s involvement in gambling over time.
In addition, a longitudinal study can provide the needed data more quickly and efficiently than multiple smaller studies using different methods. Finally, a longitudinal approach can help investigators establish the credibility of findings by showing that they are not just due to chance.
Gambling is a complex behaviour with both positive and negative consequences for the individual, family, friends and society. It is a highly addictive behaviour and those with an addiction to gambling are likely to have other mood disorders such as depression, anxiety or substance abuse problems which can trigger or worsen the symptoms of their gambling addiction. They can also be at increased risk of suicide. It is recommended that anyone with a problem with gambling seeks help as soon as possible to prevent it from deteriorating into an addiction. This can be done by getting help from a health care professional, attending a support group or finding other activities to fill their time such as joining a sports team, reading club, taking an education class or volunteering. It is also important to seek support from family and friends and to stay connected with them. This can be achieved by strengthening existing relationships and making new ones. It is also advisable to avoid places where gambling is common such as casinos, and to keep only a small amount of cash on hand.