Many people gamble, sometimes to a great extent. It’s a fun pastime, it gives people a good feeling, and can help them forget about their problems for a while. However, it can also negatively affect their physical and mental health, relationships with others, their performance at work or study, get them into serious debt and even lead to homelessness. For some people, gambling can become an addictive habit that’s difficult to break.

Whether it’s buying a lottery ticket, playing online poker, betting on sports events or selecting the best players for your fantasy football team, there is always the possibility of winning money. Nevertheless, the chances of doing so are very slim, and most gamblers spend more than they win. In this video from Brain Connections, learn more about why this is so.

There are many reasons why people gamble, from socialization to coping with life’s stressors and problems. Gambling is a form of entertainment that brings people together and can be enjoyable, especially for those who organize gambling trips to casinos that are maybe only a few hours’ drive away. Casino games like blackjack require a lot of thinking, quick decisions and the use of strategies to improve one’s odds of winning. This cognitive engagement keeps the brain active and may be a healthy activity to engage in, as long as it’s done within one’s means and doesn’t interfere with one’s work or personal lives.

It’s important to find a support system, whether it’s family or friends, or even a peer group like Gamblers Anonymous. If you are unable to overcome your addiction, consider inpatient or residential treatment and rehab programs.