Understanding the Effects of Gambling


Gambling involves wagering something of value on an event that is either random or can be controlled, with the goal of winning money or other prizes. There are many benefits to gambling, including socialising, mental development and skill improvement, but it can also lead to addiction if not done in moderation. For people who struggle with an addictive gambling disorder, it can have negative impacts on their lives, including financial difficulties and problems with relationships. It can even have a devastating impact on children.

The good news is that there are ways to help someone overcome a gambling problem, such as therapy and self-help. However, it is important to understand that this type of behaviour is complex and often takes time to change.

For some, gambling is a way to feel normal and to cope with difficult emotions such as loneliness or depression. In addition, some people with gambling problems are at risk of developing other mental health conditions, such as anxiety or bipolar disorder. In fact, a recent study found that people with a history of bipolar disorder were more likely to develop a gambling disorder than those without the condition.

Some of the most positive effects of gambling come from socialising, mental development and skill improvement, especially for young people. However, gambling can become problematic when it is used to escape from everyday worries and stress, or to boost self-esteem. It is also a common trigger for a substance use disorder, as it increases the risk of using alcohol or drugs.

While there are some positive social and economic aspects to gambling, there are also a number of costs associated with it, such as the loss of personal or household income and savings, debt and bankruptcy, and the impact on family, work and health. These costs can have a lasting effect on an individual and their family, even after they stop gambling.

If you are worried about a friend or relative’s gambling, it is best to talk to them about it in a non-judgmental manner. They may be in denial and resist your attempts to get them to see the problem, but it is important to try to find a solution together.

One way to help is to encourage them to spend time with friends, take up a new hobby or sport, and reduce their exposure to situations that could trigger gambling. This can be as simple as changing their route to work if it goes past a casino or taking care of their credit cards and EFTPOS money to ensure they are not spending on gambling. It is also useful to identify and challenge unhealthy thinking patterns, such as the illusion of control and the gambler’s fallacy.

Some states have voluntary self-exclusion programs that allow you to ban yourself from gambling venues, and this can be a great way to help break the habit. You can find out more about these programs by Googling ‘self-exclusion’ or visiting your state’s division of gaming website.