Gambling is an activity where you wager something of value on an event whose outcome is uncertain, such as sports events or a lottery. It also includes games where you place bets against another person, such as blackjack or poker. Most people who gamble say they enjoy socializing with other people and the thrill of winning. However, the negative effects of gambling can be magnified if it becomes an addiction.
Most studies have focused on economic benefits and costs of gambling, but few have considered social impacts. This is because these are more difficult to quantify than monetary costs and benefits. For example, social harms caused by gambling may include emotional distress and damage to relationships. It’s important to take a public health approach when researching the effects of gambling, including a focus on social impact assessment.
Many factors can lead to a gambling problem, including a family history of compulsive gambling and underlying mood disorders like depression or anxiety. If you have these symptoms, seek treatment immediately. Other risk factors include a lack of social support, a high-stress job, and a tendency to ignore other obligations.
Developing a strong support network is an essential step in stopping gambling. Consider reaching out to friends and family, joining a book club or sports team, or taking on an educational class. You can also try a peer support group, such as Gamblers Anonymous, which is based on the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.