Gambling is a popular way to make money, but it can also be a serious problem. Four in five people gamble at least once, and about 20 million Americans have a gambling problem. It can be addictive and cause financial problems and interfere with work and social life.

Defining gambling harms is an important first step to addressing the issue of problem gambling, as it provides a common framework for understanding and measuring the negative impact of gambling on people’s lives. There are a number of ways to define gambling harms, but the primary focus should be on those involving behavioural and emotional harm.

Emotional Harms

Those experiencing gambling related harms may have a range of different feelings, including anger, guilt, shame, sadness, embarrassment, confusion and fear. They may experience a sense of worthlessness and may be feeling a loss of control over their behaviour. They may be anxious and depressed or they could be experiencing relationship breakdowns and financial problems.

Psychological Harms

Psychiatric disorders, such as depression or anxiety, are often associated with gambling. It’s important to seek help if you or someone you love has a gambling problem. There are many treatment options available, ranging from group therapy to family counseling.

Aim to stop gambling or at least control the amount you spend on gambling. The best way to do this is by putting a limit on how much you can spend on gambling each week or month. It can be hard to break the habit, but it’s possible.

It’s also important to understand why you’re gambling and why it’s affecting your life. It can be very hard to admit that you have a gambling problem, but it’s a good idea to ask yourself why you are doing what you are doing.

If you feel like you are spending too much time on gambling, or it’s becoming a distraction from your other activities, then it is likely that you have a problem. Seeing an expert is also helpful.

Physical activity is often a good way to help people with problem gambling. This is because it can reduce stress and boost confidence. It can also help to increase muscle mass, which can strengthen the muscles that control the body’s reaction to gambling.

Mental Health and Relationships

Those with gambling problems often have a lot of emotional problems, such as depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem. It can also affect their relationships with friends and family. They may have difficulty making decisions and they might struggle with work or school.

When a person has a gambling problem, they may be worried about losing their family and home. They might be embarrassed to discuss their problem, and they may be afraid that they will be judged or rejected by others. They may also worry that they won’t get the help they need if they tell someone about their problem.

The key to coping with the situation is finding support. This can be from a trusted friend or family member, a professional counsellor or by attending a self-help group for gambling such as Gamblers Anonymous.