Whether you’re buying a lottery ticket, betting on a sporting event or using the pokies, gambling is an activity in which people risk money or other valuable things in an attempt to win more than they lose. The odds of winning are usually based on chance, but some skill is involved too. Gambling is also an addictive behaviour, and like other addictions it can cause harm to family and friends.
The most common reasons that people gamble are social, financial, and for entertainment or a “rush”. It’s important to understand these reasons to help you recognise when a loved one is struggling with a problem. This can help you support them and know that they’re not trying to deceive or trick you.
A number of effective treatments are available to treat gambling disorders, including psychological therapy and community-based support groups. Counselling can help you think about why you gamble, how it affects your life and those around you, and consider options for change. There are no medications that are currently approved for the treatment of gambling disorders, but some can be used to treat co-occurring conditions such as depression and anxiety.
Many studies have been conducted using longitudinal designs to identify factors that moderate and exacerbate gambling participation. The advantage of a longitudinal study is that it allows researchers to compare individuals over time and infer causality. However, longitudinal studies are expensive and complex to undertake. There are also difficulties maintaining research team continuity over a long time period and the possibility of sample attrition.