Gambling is a type of risky behavior where people place a bet on something of value, typically money. The goal of gambling is to win money or something of value, but the risk and prize are not always clear. Problem gamblers often develop impulse-control disorders and are at risk of financial ruin. In addition, gambling can lead to other problems.
Problem gamblers are prone to impulse-control disorders
Impulsivity is an important factor in the development of addictive behaviors, including problem gambling. Impulsivity is the tendency to make hasty decisions, even if these decisions can have negative consequences. The concept of impulsivity has been studied in many different ways. It can refer to any behavior that is excessively impulsive, risky, or inappropriate. Recent models of impulsivity point to a complex, multifactorial relationship between impulsivity and gambling involvement. They also point to brain-based mechanisms that influence impulsivity.
Researchers have found that impulse-control disorders are a common trait among problem gamblers. A 2005 German study found that problem gamblers had lower electrical activity in a region of the brain responsible for reward processing. Other studies have found that the prefrontal cortex of problem gamblers has less activity than in control subjects. The prefrontal cortex is the part of the brain that helps assess risks.
They are at risk for non-gambling health problems
Financial harm is one of the biggest threats faced by problem gamblers. It disproportionately affects people from low socioeconomic classes and disadvantaged regions. In addition, indigenous people, who are less likely to have financial resources, are particularly vulnerable. Those with psychotic disorders are also at risk. Although there is a correlation between financial harm and problem gambling, the relationship is not always direct. Other factors such as ill-health or poverty may also affect problem gambling.
Problem gamblers are also more likely to be overweight and engage in unhealthy lifestyle behaviors, such as smoking and alcohol consumption. These risks may be associated with other risk factors, such as gambling addiction. Problem gamblers are also more likely to be cigarette smokers than recreational gamblers. Moreover, a significant proportion of problematic gamblers have alcohol use disorders and other substance use disorders.
They are at risk for financial ruin
A landmark study has found that gamblers are at risk for financial ruin, particularly those who spend a high percentage of their income on gambling. The study followed 6.5 million customers from Lloyds Banking Group to examine the relationship between gambling spend and financial problems. The researchers found that gamblers were twice as likely to miss their mortgage payments. They were also more likely to face disability and unemployment.
Researchers have also linked problem gambling with physical health issues, obesity, and other unhealthy lifestyle behaviors. Other studies have shown a relationship between problem gambling and substance use disorders. In fact, between twenty-eight and seventeen percent of problem gamblers suffer from some form of alcohol or substance use disorder.
They are prone to financial ruin
Financial ruin is one of the main problems faced by problem gamblers. Financial harm is often worse for those from lower socioeconomic groups or deprived areas. Gamblers with psychotic disorders are particularly vulnerable to financial ruin. Although the causal relationship between gambling and financial losses is not always clear, it may be a combination of factors. For example, ill health can contribute to financial problems, while poverty may itself lead to problem gambling.
Significant other problems associated with problem gambling include isolation, loneliness, and self-blame. Moreover, problem gamblers are less likely to engage in regular physical activity and seek health care.