Gambling is an activity where people place a bet on an event with an uncertain outcome. It can be done on a number of different things from sporting events to scratchcards and even the lottery. While gambling can be a lot of fun, it’s important to keep in mind that it is risky and you can lose money. In order to prevent gambling from becoming an addiction, it’s a good idea to limit how much you gamble and only play with money you can afford to lose. Also, avoid thinking of gambling as a way to make money as this will lead to more problems.
Many people have a love of gambling and can control their behaviours, however for others it becomes a problem. In fact, it is estimated that around 2 million people have a serious gambling problem in the United States alone and for those with this problem it can be very difficult to overcome. If you think you may be a problem gambler it is important to seek help as early as possible. This can help you break the cycle of gambling and reclaim your life.
The term ‘harm’ has been used in the literature to describe any adverse consequences arising from a person’s engagement with gambling, but it is important to note that harm is not just about negative outcomes and the use of this word can be misleading. This is because the term conflates harmful behaviour with negative consequences and this confusion has been evident in multiple items on gambling screening instruments such as the PGSI.
In terms of gambling related harm, six different thematic classifications were developed and included financial harms (including loss of earnings and debt), harm to relationships, emotional or psychological harms, impacts on work or study, as well as social, economic and community harms. A further category of harms was identified, known as legacy harms which refer to the ongoing impact of a person’s engagement with gambling after they stop engaging in that behaviour.
Some of the most common harms from gambling include depression, family and workplace conflict, financial hardship and relationship problems. Gambling can also result in health problems including heart disease, obesity, and substance abuse. In addition, it can cause mental health issues such as anxiety and stress. It can also cause social and cultural harms, especially for those with culturally specific beliefs and practices such as CALD and Aboriginal communities. Some of these impacts can be long-lasting and difficult to recover from. It’s a good idea to have a strong support network in place when you’re dealing with gambling problems and try to avoid hiding your problem from those close to you, as they will often deny there is a problem. It is also a good idea to get rid of credit cards, limit online betting and only ever gamble with money you can afford to lose. And remember to never chase your losses, as this is likely to lead to bigger and bigger losses.