Gambling involves risking something of value (either money or other goods or services) on an event that is not under your control. The outcome of this event is decided by chance – whether it’s a football match, a scratchcard or the lottery. The choice you make is matched with ‘odds’, which are set by the betting company and indicate how much you can win if you bet correctly.
Gambling is a form of entertainment that many people participate in for various reasons. It can give you an adrenaline rush, provide a social outlet and help you escape from worries or stress. However, gambling can also affect your health, relationships and work performance. For some, it can even become a compulsive behaviour that results in loss of control.
Whenever you bet, the brain releases a great deal of feel-good chemicals such as dopamine. This is why you might feel excited when you bet and win, but it also explains why some people find it difficult to stop gambling once they start.
If you’re worried about your gambling habits, it is a good idea to seek advice and treatment from a mental health professional. BetterHelp can help you find a therapist who specialises in gambling and other addictive behaviours, so that you can get the support you need. Alternatively, try seeking out peer support from groups such as Gamblers Anonymous. You can also strengthen your support network by getting involved in other activities such as sports, book clubs and volunteering.