Gambling is an activity where a person bets money on an event, such as a sports match, poker tournament, or slot machine. People gamble for many different reasons, and it can be a fun pastime, but gambling can also cause serious harm to your mental health.

Problem gambling is a mental health disorder that causes you to place bets on something with the hope of winning money or other valuable items. It can be a life-threatening condition that can impact your relationships, career and financial stability.

It is important to recognise the signs and symptoms of a gambling problem so you can seek help early, before it worsens. It is also essential to understand that a gambling problem can be treated like any other addiction, with cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).

Understanding gambling and the risks involved will help you to make informed decisions about your behaviour and prevent problems. It can also help you to avoid becoming a victim of scams, fraud or identity theft.

You can gamble online or in a land-based casino, and it is legal in most states. It is also illegal to steal money or property to gamble with, so you need to think about how you are spending your own cash before deciding to gamble.

Whether you are thinking about taking up gambling or you are worried about someone else, it is important to get professional help and support as soon as possible. Getting treatment can help you stop gambling and live a healthier, happier life.

Your support network is an important part of recovery from gambling. Reach out to friends and family, talk to a counsellor or find a peer support group, such as Gamblers Anonymous. If you are struggling financially, speak to StepChange for free and confidential debt advice.

A person’s behavioural habits are often influenced by their social environment and the way they perceive the world around them. This can make it hard to resist gambling, especially if you are feeling anxious or depressed.

This is because a lot of gambling is done via social media or in multiplayer games, where players are often encouraged to play by others in their community. This can be particularly harmful for those who are vulnerable, including children and young people.

In the UK, there is no national definition of harm from gambling, but several research studies have shown that there is a wide range of experiences of harm from gambling. This range of experiences is due to the complexity of the concept of harm, the subjectivity in what people considered harmful, and the inter-relationship between gambling and other comorbidities.

To address these issues, we developed a definition of harm from gambling that reflects the diversity of experiences and is grounded in a public health approach to defining and measuring harm. This is intended to encourage a more inclusive approach to gambling, which is not only for those with a gambling disorder but also those affected by gambling in other ways.