Although gambling has numerous benefits for society, it also has a number of negative impacts. These impacts manifest themselves on a personal, interpersonal, and societal level. On a personal level, these impacts can affect the gambling addict, the family members closest to him/her, and even the community at large. These impacts are often long-term, resulting in financial devastation and even homelessness. On a societal level, these negative effects affect the gambling addict’s friends and family.
While gambling is often thought of as a social activity and a novelty, the effects of excessive gambling can be detrimental to a person’s health. In studies, recreational gamblers reported better health compared to nongamblers. Also, gambling’s positive effects are believed to reinforce senior citizens’ self-concepts, especially those of lower socioeconomic groups. The psychological benefits of gambling may also help them stay optimistic, even in difficult circumstances.
In order to stop gambling, an individual must make a conscious decision to stop. The urge to gamble must be resisted and a limit placed on the amount of money spent on gambling. One way to limit the temptation to gamble is to cut off credit cards. Instead, allow someone else to manage your finances. Another option is to set up an automatic payment plan with your bank. Finally, limiting your online gambling accounts and only keeping limited cash on hand is a good way to avoid gambling addiction.
It is important to recognize the signs of problem gambling in yourself. If your problem has gotten out of control, consider seeking counseling. The support of your family and friends is critical. If you have a family member who is affected by gambling, it may be wise to reach out to a trusted family member to discuss the problem. Otherwise, seek out a GP or psychologist. You can also join a peer support group, such as Gamblers Anonymous. This 12-step program is modeled after the one used by alcoholics. You will need to have a sponsor, a former gambler, who can guide you through the process.