Gambling is a common habit that can have harmful effects on both the gambler and those around them. People with gambling problems can struggle to understand how they’re losing control of their finances and may even hide evidence of their problem from others. In addition, gambling is often used as a distraction or a way to avoid difficult emotions.
The addictive nature of gambling is partly down to the fact that it activates the reward centre in the brain. This is why it’s important to replace it with healthy activities that give you the same positive feelings. This could be spending time with friends, exercise or even a hobby. It’s also helpful to challenge negative thinking habits, like the illusion of control or the gambler’s fallacy, which are linked to compulsive gambling.
Having an honest discussion with a friend or family member can be the first step towards addressing their gambling problem. However, it’s important to remember that they might not be ready for this. They might be too embarrassed, defensive or scared to talk about their problem. If this is the case, you can try other approaches to encourage them to change. These might include self-help strategies, peer support or professional gambling treatment.
Gambling is heavily marketed, using appeals to socio-cultural constructs such as mateship and community, winning and success, status and social power, adventure, and hedonism. These appeals are especially effective for younger generations, who have been conditioned to consume media that promotes the idea that gambling can make them rich and happy.
While there are some studies that estimate the gross economic impact of gambling, these tend to focus on only one aspect of the problem. More rigorous efforts are needed to assess the net impact of gambling on society. In order to do this, a new methodology is needed that incorporates the concepts of cost-benefit analysis, opportunity costs and welfare loss.
It’s also important to keep in mind that gambling is not a source of income. In addition, chasing your losses will usually result in more losses. Moreover, it’s essential to set limits for yourself. This can include limiting your time on gambling sites, not allowing gambling to interfere with work or other social activities and setting a financial budget for each session. Finally, you should never borrow money to gamble, and be sure to avoid gambling when you’re tired or stressed.
If you’re worried about someone’s gambling, you can call Gambler’s Help to see how we can assist. In some cases, we can provide funding and counselling to encourage them to get help. However, it’s important to remember to be supportive, not confrontational. It’s likely that they won’t be willing to change right away, so it’s important to find ways to help that they can accept, such as agreeing on acceptable behaviours like talking to a counsellor or staying within certain spending limits.