How Gambling Affects Your Health and Well-Being

Gambling is when you put something of value at risk in a game of chance, such as the lottery, scratchcards, fruit machines or betting with friends. It is a risky behaviour that can have negative impacts on your health and wellbeing, including mental development, stress and socialisation. It can also lead to gambling addiction if not addressed early on.

Many gamblers use it as a way to relieve boredom, loneliness or depression and gain a sense of achievement. This can be a problem for teenagers who may be trying to fit in with their peers and feel they don’t belong. Gambling can also be a way to try and avoid difficult life experiences such as divorce, death of a loved one or financial distress.

It is important to recognise the positive and negative impacts of gambling on your personal and family life and health and well-being. Impacts can be observed at a personal level, interpersonal (friends and family) or community/society levels. These can include:

Identifying and acknowledging the signs of harmful gambling can help you stop. Seek support from a trusted friend, family member or professional counsellor. Find other activities to occupy your time, like exercise, a new hobby or meditation. Gambling addicts often have a low threshold for boredom, so it is important to fill your life with other stimulating things to prevent you from turning to gambling in times of restlessness. You could also consider a group support program like Gamblers Anonymous, which is modelled after Alcoholics Anonymous.

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