Gambling has the ability to have far-reaching impacts on an individual, interpersonal and community/society level – from positive or negative financial, labor and health impacts on well-being; to longer term long-term effects. These could include long-term health conditions or disabilities.
Pathological gambling has many negative repercussions, yet early intervention and treatment can prevent further issues for young people, particularly boys and men.
It can lead to mental health issues
People addicted to gambling run an increased risk of mental health problems and may be at a greater risk for suicide. Gambling has similar effects on the brain to taking drugs; it alters emotional states like depression, anxiety and distress while also leading to physical issues such as migraines, digestive disorders or abdominal pain; in addition it may lead to alcohol or drug dependency.
Pathological gambling can be defined by five or more symptoms: impulsiveness, tolerance, withdrawal, preoccupation, and compulsive gambling behavior. This serious condition can seriously harm a person’s mental health and social life as well as their relationships within their families, financial ruin and legal troubles. Pathological gamblers tend to lie to friends and family members about their gambling habits even after suffering significant losses; moreover they often smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol excessively, skip meals and sleep-deprive themselves in order to continue gambling activities despite these losses; furthermore they become irritable when trying to cut back or stop gambling activities completely.
It can lead to financial problems
Gambling can have numerous detrimental impacts on one’s financial status, which can be divided into three classes. Financial effects include gambling revenue, tourism and infrastructure changes; labor impacts include lost income due to job performance problems or absenteeism and theft; while health and well-being effects include effects on physical, emotional and social well-being.
Gambling can have serious repercussions beyond financial issues. Addiction to gambling may lead to depression or suicidality; their families, friends, and hobbies may become neglected as their focus shifts away from these important tasks – this can have devastating repercussions for those closest to a gambler.
As soon as a gambling problem starts affecting your life, it is crucial that you seek assistance. Strategies include limiting or restricting how often you gamble; getting professional counseling; or reaching out for non-judgemental support services and reaching out for non-addiction programs that provide non-judgmental assistance services. You could also consider engaging in other activities which make you feel good.
It can lead to social isolation
Gambling can lead to social isolation for many individuals. Not only can financial problems result from gambling, but social relationships may be severed as well as mental health deteriorated due to being rejected by society – further leading to isolation. Gamblers may become disinterested with activities they used to enjoy before spending more time at casinos than ever.
Gamblers who lose a considerable sum often experience feelings of despair and hopelessness, which can exacerbate mental health problems. Furthermore, feeling responsible for their losses only compounds these feelings further and encourages them to continue gambling in hopes of recovering their funds.
Gambling impacts can be measured at three levels: personal, interpersonal and community/society (Fig. 1). Impacts can either be positive or negative and classified according to class – costs or benefits. Gamblers themselves have direct control of their personal level while external influences have more of an effect on interpersonal and community/society levels and affect other individuals as a whole.
It can lead to self-harm
Gambling can provide an outlet to reduce stress levels, yet in certain instances can turn to self-harm. This is especially true with pathological gambling where gambling becomes a means of self-injury – cutting or suicide attempts being examples. Gambling provides tangible relief from anxiety while acting as an outlet for anger, panic and frustration.
Review of literature found that gambling can cause various harms for the gambler and these depend on risk severity; however, little evidence on harm to other individuals exists. Studies that focus on effects of gambling on specific populations could provide some answers; however these studies often rely on survey data which limits scope while may bias results depending on factors like socio-economic status or age.