Gambling is an enjoyable novelty and social activity. It should be regarded as one of many forms of entertainment, and not a major part of your life. However, it is important to remember that gambling can become a problem when it becomes more important without your knowledge. Once you’re aware of the reasons for your gambling, you can make the necessary changes to stop the habit. There are also many organisations offering support and help for those with gambling problems, and even support for family members of those who are affected by it.
Problems caused by excessive gambling
The effects of excessive gambling are similar to those of alcoholism. Gamblers who lose everything they own feel depressed and hopeless. Moreover, compulsive gamblers have to keep playing in order to recoup their lost funds. Over time, compulsive gamblers experience many problems related to their relationships, finances, and even legal issues. The good news is that gambling addiction is treatable.
Depending on the level of damage done, problem gambling may cause increased conflict with partner or family, mistreatment in friendships, and even job loss. In addition to financial consequences, problem gamblers often have higher rates of mental illness and distress. In addition, problem gamblers also have episodes of emotion, substance abuse, and prolonged absences from social settings. These effects are not uncommon for those who have fallen into a cycle of problem gambling.
Impact of excessive gambling on society
The social costs associated with gambling have been estimated to range from US$6 million to $39 million per year. While the actual amount is unknown, the social costs of problem gambling may affect an entire generation or even change a person’s life. The overall cost to society is also higher for those who gamble on a regular basis, which increases the total revenue of the industry and decreases funds available for other purposes. In Victoria, the total cost of problem gambling was $46 million in 2014, while the costs associated with gambling-related crime were $22.5 million. Suicides associated with problem gambling cost the state an estimated $28 million.
While gambling is a popular way to pass leisure time, it takes valuable time away from other activities. Unfortunately, problem gambling has many negative consequences. These impacts are measurable on a personal, interpersonal, community, and societal level. Problem gamblers can cause financial devastation to themselves and their families, which in turn can create social care costs. Ultimately, the negative impacts of excessive gambling are significant, and should be acknowledged and studied.
Ways to prevent excessive gambling
There are a few ways to avoid excessive gambling, and identifying those triggers can help you get control. For example, if you regularly lose money, you may find yourself borrowing money to continue your gaming sessions. Problem gamblers can also experience cravings that make them want to go to the casino or cash their paychecks. Keeping a small amount of cash on hand will help you resist the urge to gamble. If you know that you have a problem with gambling, you can set a time to stop and take care of your money.
Using self-help interventions is another effective way to deal with your gambling addiction. These interventions include self-guided activities and information workbooks, along with planned support from a treatment provider. Self-help interventions may also include a brief phone call from a trusted advisor, which can prevent pathological gamblers from accessing money that is needed for gambling. The Better Health Channel has a fact sheet on gambling that provides helpful tips for those who struggle with addiction.