Gambling is an activity in which people wager something of value (money, goods, services) on a random event with the intention of winning something else of value. While gambling is a fun activity that can create excitement and euphoria, it can also harm one’s health, relationships, work or school performance and lead to serious debt or even homelessness. It can also have a negative impact on family and friends.
A common reaction to a problem with gambling is to minimise it and hide the amount of time and money spent on the activity, which can be hard to do when the person’s life becomes consumed by it. In some cases, this can be accompanied by feelings of depression or anxiety.
The reason that gamblers are prone to such addiction is due to the way they think about their actions and their outcomes. It’s easy to get caught up in the ‘illusion of control’, whereby players overestimate the relationship between their action and an uncontrollable outcome – it’s this type of thinking that leads to chasing losses, or trying to win back money lost through gambling.
Other factors can influence gambling behaviour, including age and sex. Compulsive gambling is more common in younger people and in men. It’s also more likely to happen when a person has a relative who has a gambling problem. A person’s attitude towards gambling can also be influenced by their culture and social environment, which may affect whether they feel that their behaviour is normal or not.