Gambling As a Health Issue

While gambling is generally a harmless, enjoyable pastime, the risk of problem gambling is real. Problem gambling is characterized by a high degree of progression and can also result in depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation. Because of this, framing gambling as a health issue may help reduce resistance and encourage lifestyle inquiry. But, how do you know if you have a gambling problem? Here are some steps to help you identify if you may be at risk.

o Reach out to your social network: Make friends and family members aware of your gambling problem and get them to support you. It’s also helpful to make new friends, volunteer for good causes, and join peer support groups. For more support, consider joining a Gamblers Anonymous meeting, a 12-step recovery program modeled on Alcoholics Anonymous. AA members are also required to find a sponsor, a former gambler who will offer guidance and support.

Despite the widespread prevalence of gambling in the United States, many jurisdictions have passed legislation that limits the methods and places where it can be enjoyed. The Commerce Clause has been used by the U.S. government to restrict gambling in certain areas, including Native American lands. For instance, the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act prohibits unauthorized transportation of lottery tickets between states. Other federal legislation limits the extent of gambling on Native American lands. However, gambling laws are still unclear in the Internet age.

While the frequency and dollar amounts that one loses are important, the emotional and financial consequences of gambling are the same. Problem gambling occurs when a person cannot stop gambling and it is interfering with his or her life in any area. This condition requires therapy, either cognitive behavioural or behavior therapy. Both types of therapy work to change an individual’s thinking about gambling. This type of therapy is available round the clock and can help an individual understand why he or she gambles.

The best way to understand the risks and rewards of gambling is to understand the odds. Chance-based gambling entails risk and should be budgeted as an expense. While it is fun and entertaining, it isn’t a realistic way to become rich from gambling. It is more of a means to relax and enjoy oneself – a tourist will not be rich overnight. If you are a responsible gambler, you won’t lose your money.

Problem gambling may be a symptom of other disorders, such as depression or bipolar disorder. In addition to psychotherapy, problem gamblers may be referred to credit or family counseling to work through their issues and avoid the temptation to gamble. Although gambling is often an addictive habit, it can affect relationships and finances. Therefore, addressing any problem is crucial. You may need the help of a professional or family member to find the most effective treatment for your gambling disorder.

A comprehensive approach to problem gambling screening should include the following criteria: