Problem Gambling

Problem gambling can harm your health and your relationships, and leave you in serious debt.

Gambling Isn't Always a Problem

Gambling is seen by many as a bit of fun or a hobby, and for the majority of people it can remain this way with no adverse effects. But for an increasing number of people, this isn’t the case and it can become a pathological compulsion. This in itself, however doesn’t necesarily result in problem gambling.

What is Problem Gambling

There are people who can gamble regularly and compulsively their whole lives without any adverse effects. Gambling becomes a problem when the cost of your gambling habit outstrips your available funds and starts to create trouble in your life, such as stress, relationship problems, debt, depression, or when it causes you to lose time from work.

The need to continue gambling could drive you to use money destined for living expenses and eventually in to debt. You might then find yourself ‘chasing’, the term used for attempting to win back previous losses. This could in turn lead to you needing to beg, borrow or steal, to maintain yourr habit.

The Impact of Gambling

Problem gambling doesn’t just affect the gambler, the impact on family and friends is often irreparable. The tragedy is that gambling is an invisible habit and there are often no obvious indicators to those who live and work with a gambling addict, until the losses are so great that they have an impact on people other than the gambler.

The negative impact of gambling might include things such as:

  • Broken friendships
  • Broken marriages, or relationships, leading to divorce
  • Breakdown in family relationships
  • Loss of sleep
  • Change in personality
  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Substance abuse – drugs & alcohol
  • Poor performance at work, potentially leading to loss of empmployment
  • Debt/bankruptcy
  • Criminal activity
  • Homelessness

Gambling Addiction

Gambling addiction is a serious illness and the causes can vary from person to person. The increased opportunities for gambling including things like scratch cards and online gambling sites, has resulted in a broadening of the demographic of problem gamblers. For example there has been an increase in women and young people who have developed a serious gambling addiction.
The most effective way to combat problem gambling is to educate and raise awareness so that addicts, their friends, and their family members can recognise when they are developing a problem and seek help.
Remember that if you decide to indulge in gambling activities, there is always that element of risk. You have no way of telling if you are going to be one of the unfortunate ones who will fall victim to addiction so why risk it ? The impact of gambling addiction can be devastating, so we all need to be fully aware of this fact.

10 Tips for Safe Gambling

  1. Gamble for fun not for financial gain
  2. If you gamble set yourself a limit and stick to it!
  3. Always remember gambling can become addictive
  4. Understand the risks before you gamble
  5. Never borrow to gamble
  6. Never chase losses
  7. Never gamble to solve financial or emotional problems
  8. Be aware of the warning signs of gambling addiction
  9. If you have a problem don’t be afraid to seek help.
  10. Gambling ruins lives so treat it with RESPECT!

Spotting The Signs

Being a compulsive gambler can harm your health and relationships, and leave you in serious debt. Therefore, it is vital, not only for an addict but also for their peers, colleagues, friends and family, to recognise the early warning signs that may signal that they are suffering a relapse.

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