Gambling is a form of wagering that involves risk and an element of chance. It can take the form of gaming, betting, lottery or speculating on business, insurance or stock markets.
Many people enjoy gambling but don’t realize it can have a negative impact on their health or wellbeing. It is important to recognise the harms caused by gambling and find support if you or a family member is experiencing problems with it.
The benefits of Gambling
Despite the widespread use of the term “gambling” and the widespread myth that it is a dangerous activity, there are many positive aspects to gambling. These include:
A sharp mind and good eye-hand coordination
When gambling, you are training your brain to focus on a specific task. This can help to stimulate different parts of the brain, including your memory and creativity. It can also improve your hand-eye coordination and help to prevent eye and mental diseases.
Relaxation and comfort
The enjoyment you get from gambling can lead to reduced stress levels and improved concentration. This means that you can better cope with difficult situations and avoid a deterioration in your mental health.
Gambling can give you new friends through the experience of interacting with other gamblers in casinos or online. This can help to strengthen your friendships and social networks and reduce the risks of developing a gambling problem.
Addiction and Recovery
In addiction treatment, people can learn how to resist the urge to gamble. They can also receive therapy to help them overcome their addiction and become more resilient.
These therapies can involve cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or family group counselling. They can help you develop new ways of coping with the temptation to gamble, such as by changing your negative thoughts and irrational beliefs.
A support network
When you’re trying to cope with a loved one’s gambling addiction, it can be hard to stay strong. It can be helpful to have a support network of friends and family, or to find a 12-step recovery program like Gamblers Anonymous.
Set boundaries and limits
If a friend or family member is struggling with a gambling problem, it can be helpful to set some boundaries around the finances. This can ensure that the person stays accountable and won’t relapse.
The best way to deal with an addictive behaviour is to seek support and advice. It can be a challenging process but it is a worthwhile effort. You will be surprised how helpful it can be to talk through your feelings with others and learn how to cope.
Having a strong support network can be the difference between life and death when you’re dealing with an addiction. If you’re unsure where to begin, reach out to your local StepChange service or speak to a friend who has been through the same thing.
As with all forms of addiction, it is vital to seek professional help if you suspect your gambling is causing you harm. The consequences can be severe, and you can be at risk of self-harm or suicide if your gambling is out of control.