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Gambling is any activity where you place something of value at a risk in order to get something back in return. This could be in the form of placing a monetary bet or a possession down in order to receive a monetary or prize return. The world of gambling is vast and some examples of the ways in which people gamble include sporting events, world events, the lottery, bingo, scratch cards, slots, card games, fixed odds terminals and many, many more.

Like most vices, gambling in itself is not necessarily a problem if it can be controlled however it can easily become compulsive. Compulsive gambling is the uncontrollable urge to gamble despite the toll it takes on your life. Given that gambling is financial in nature it is apparent that compulsive gambling can have a devastating effect on someone finances, however so too the effects can be devastating on a person’s mental health.

Compulsive gamblers are often very aware of the problem that they have and so when they keep repeating these regressive behaviours, the negative effect is further compounded by feelings of self-loathing, regret and helplessness. Anxiety is not uncommon and ultimately compulsive gamblers can become very depressed about their condition.

Similarly compulsive gamblers will often choose to gamble rather than participate in social events or occasions where there is not any chance to gamble, and as such they can experience social isolation and withdrawal from their normal sphere of existence.

Therapy can help a gambler to control their impulses, find out if there is any deeper root of the problem or compensation they are making in their lives, and going forward, make a positive change.

In particular, cognitive behavioural therapy is recommended given that it strives to understand behaviours in order to be able to change negative behaviours to positive ones. The improvements that can be seen are not just mentally based but can also make a previously debt ridden person into someone who is financially sound, providing further peace of mind.

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