Gambling is the wagering of something of value (money or other assets) on an event whose outcome is determined by chance. The event could be a game of chance, like roulette or poker, or it could involve skill, such as sports betting or playing games that use collectible items, such as marbles or pogs. In either case, there are three components: consideration, risk and a prize.
The negative effects of gambling can have an impact at the personal, interpersonal and societal/community levels. Personal/interpersonal level impacts affect gamblers and those close to them, such as family and friends. These can include hidden costs such as social isolation and depression. In addition, they can include visible costs such as increased debt and financial strain, which can lead to bankruptcy or homelessness.
Many people with gambling disorders are able to get help on their own, but others require a more intensive approach. This may include cognitive behavioral therapy, psychodynamic therapy and family therapy. Various types of medications may also be used, depending on the type of disorder and the person.
If you think you might have a problem, seek help immediately. The best way to do this is by talking to a trusted friend or family member, visiting a local support service or attending peer-led recovery programs such as Gamblers Anonymous. These are based on the 12-step model of Alcoholics Anonymous. Other support services can include specialised counselling, including family therapy and marriage counseling.