Gambling is a behavior in which people wager something of value on an event that is unpredictable. It can be done in many forms, such as lottery games, horse racing, or even online gaming. The act of gambling stimulates the brain’s reward center, triggering a feeling of pleasure. While most people gamble occasionally and do not suffer from a gambling disorder, others develop problems when the behaviour is repeated frequently or causes negative consequences in multiple areas of their life. Symptoms of problem gambling include: lying to family and friends, borrowing money to fund gambling, spending more time gambling than planned, stealing money to gamble or to pay debts, engaging in gambling to relieve boredom or stress, and having difficulty sleeping. Problem gambling is classified as an impulse control disorder and is included in the fifth edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5).
There are a number of things you can do to help someone who is struggling with a gambling problem. Start by talking to them about your concerns and letting them know that you are worried about how their gambling is affecting their life. Try to do this in a way that makes them feel safe and secure, and not threatened or judged.
Alternatively, consider seeking professional advice together with your loved one. Gambling addiction can have a significant impact on family, friends and work life and it is important to get help early. It is also helpful to educate yourself about gambling and how it can affect a person’s well-being. You can do this by reading articles or books, or attending seminars or workshops.
Although it may be difficult to talk about the issue of gambling with someone you care about, it is a crucial step in helping them stop their addiction. Remember that they may go through cycles of denial and awareness, so it’s best to be patient and approach the topic gently.
It’s also important to recognise that a person’s gambling addiction is often a symptom of other underlying mental health issues. It’s important to seek help for any coexisting conditions such as depression or anxiety. Managing these symptoms can help an individual to cope with their gambling and manage their finances.
Moreover, it is worth mentioning that pathological gambling has a negative effect on society in terms of increased costs and taxes associated with the activity. However, this cost is offset by the fact that gambling also provides jobs and contributes to economic stability in many countries around the world.
The impacts of gambling can be structuralized using a benefits-costs model, with benefits and costs categorized into three classes: financial, labor, and health and well-being. While financial impacts occur at a personal level and concern gamblers, labor impacts occur at an interpersonal level and affect other people. Health and well-being impacts are categorized at a societal level and concern the general population.