Health Consequences of Gambling


Gambling is a form of entertainment in which an individual places an item of value at risk in hopes of gaining greater value. Special populations at risk for gambling include adolescents, aging adults, veterans, and members of the Latino and Asian communities. Although gambling is common among all of these groups, the effects of problem gambling are much higher in certain populations than in others. Read on to learn more about the signs of problem gambling, treatment options, and health consequences.

Problem gambling

Earlier diagnoses of problem gambling included pathological gambling and compulsive gaming, and the most recent definition is disordered or problem gambling. The definition has changed over the years, but the main factors remain the same. Individuals with this disorder must continually place an item of value at risk to obtain a greater value. Individuals with this condition may be at a high risk for developing other problems, such as financial, emotional, or interpersonal, as a result of their gambling behavior.

Family therapy, marriage counseling, and credit counseling may be helpful for problem gamblers. These therapies will provide the tools needed to overcome the addiction and regain control of their lives. A loved one suffering from a problem gambling disorder can also benefit from support. Various self-help resources are available at GamCare, and the organization provides support for the family of a problem gambler. Several online resources can be helpful in recognizing when a loved one may be experiencing a gambling problem.

Signs of a problem

While most people don’t have problems with gambling, those with a problem should seek professional help. Symptoms of problem gambling include: betting on horses with no real intention of winning, dropping money into machines without thinking about the consequences, and pursuing other activities after a draw. If you suspect your friend or family member of gambling excessively, follow up with them to see if they can offer you any advice.

When the gambling habit gets out of hand, it affects all areas of your life. You may end up maxing out your credit cards, neglecting family and work commitments, and compromising your relationships. Sometimes, this is so severe that your gambling habit becomes so serious that it can lead to depression or other mental illnesses. Sometimes, the problem goes unnoticed, and you may even be able to hide it from yourself or others.

Treatment options

Inpatient or outpatient treatment is available to those suffering from an addiction to gambling. The most popular form of therapy is cognitive behavioral therapy, which aims to counter problematic gambling thoughts and behaviors. Other treatment options include support groups such as Gamblers Anonymous or bibliotherapy. While gambling addiction treatment is often not effective in curing the disease, it can help addicts to deal with their emotions and reduce the urge to gamble. These programs have a wide range of benefits and may be ideal for those who have a loved one who has an addiction to gambling.

Although people suffering from a gambling addiction may be reluctant to seek help, addressing the problem can help the individual regain control of their lives and repair their relationships and finances. Therapy for gambling addiction may include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which focuses on replacing unhealthy beliefs with healthier ones. Some treatments for gambling addiction also involve family counseling. Psychotherapy may be an appropriate choice for those seeking treatment. It is also possible to use psychotherapy in conjunction with cognitive-behavioral therapy.

Health consequences

The Health Consequences of Gambling include productivity loss, mental illnesses and incarceration. Although the cost of these illnesses may be low per person, in aggregate, they can amount to a large burden. The societal cost of gambling is estimated using a causality adjustment factor. This method was developed by the Australian Productivity Commission in 1999, and assumes that 80 percent of people with gambling problems would not suffer these consequences without gambling.

Researchers have found that harms associated with gambling are greater than those resulting from alcohol, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and depression. These harms persist long after the gambler stops gambling, threatening a person’s health and well-being. Although the prevalence of problem gambling has remained fairly stable in Britain, the high levels of ‘churn’ highlight the need for better resources for preventing gambling harms.