Gambling happens when people stake money or other items of value in exchange for the chance of a prize win. It can take many forms, from betting on sports events or horse races to putting money in the lottery. It also occurs in online games and video games, including popular titles such as Fortnite and Candy Crush. The amount of money legally wagered each year is estimated to be around $10 trillion (though illegal gambling may exceed this).
Some experts say the internet and new technology have created a unique threat because they make it easier to get involved. The availability of games that require no real cash — such as loot boxes — may attract younger players and create an even more dangerous situation.
Experts agree that it is crucial to understand the risks and how they affect families. Counseling can help people think about their own gambling behaviour and how it affects them and their family, and can be an important step towards making changes. There are no FDA-approved medications to treat gambling disorders, but some treatments for co-occurring conditions such as depression or anxiety can help with problem gamblers’ symptoms.
Changing your gambling behaviour is a difficult thing to do, especially if you have been doing it for a long time. But it can be done with the support of family and friends. It is also helpful to learn healthier ways of relieving unpleasant feelings, such as exercising, spending time with friends who don’t gamble and practicing relaxation techniques.