How Gambling Affects Families


Gambling involves wagering something of value on a random event with the intent to win something else of value. Instances of strategy are discounted. Gambling is often a social activity and involves other people, but it can also be done alone. People can experience a wide range of emotions when gambling, including fear and anger. It is important for families to understand how gambling affects the people who participate in it.

Gamblers can become addicted to the rush of winning and losing, and they may find it difficult to stop gambling even after they have lost large sums of money. A gambling addiction can have serious consequences for both the gambler and their family. It is important for family members to recognise the warning signs of a problem and seek help for themselves if they are concerned.

Some individuals who struggle with gambling use it as a way to escape from their problems or to avoid dealing with them. This can be especially true when they are feeling down or depressed. People who struggle with mental health issues should seek help for those problems at the same time as they are working on overcoming their gambling habit.

In the past, psychiatric professionals have regarded pathological gambling as a form of impulse control disorder. However, in the 1980s when a revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) was underway, the APA decided that pathological gambling is more than just a compulsion. It is a serious mental health issue that can lead to severe financial difficulties, relationship problems and a loss of self-esteem.

Individuals who struggle with gambling may experience a variety of symptoms, such as anxiety, depression and boredom. These can be caused by a number of factors, including financial issues and stress at work or home. It is also common for people to gamble as a way of soothing unpleasant feelings or coping with boredom.

If someone in your family is struggling with a gambling problem, you can talk to them about it in a supportive and caring manner. Do not criticise or berate them, as this will only make them defensive and less likely to listen to you. It is important to discuss how the person’s gambling is affecting them, and to set boundaries in managing their finances. You can do this by removing credit cards, putting someone else in charge of money management, closing online betting accounts and keeping only a small amount of cash on hand.

You can also help them to find healthier ways to cope with unpleasant feelings and boredom by encouraging them to engage in activities such as exercising, spending time with friends who don’t gamble, joining a book club or an adult education class, taking up a new hobby or getting involved in volunteer work. You can also suggest that they try alternative coping mechanisms, such as meditation and relaxation techniques.