Gambling Harms

Gambling is an activity in which people place a bet on the outcome of a game, a contest, or an uncertain event. The activity may involve risk and hope of gain, or loss and pain. It has been an important part of human society since ancient times. Today, it is more popular than ever. People can gamble at casinos, online, and in sports events. It is important to remember that gambling is an addictive activity and it can cause harm to a person’s life. Gambling can ruin personal relationships, damage health, and lead to bankruptcy and even homelessness. It is essential to seek treatment if you have a gambling problem.

Several studies indicate that there is a strong relationship between gambling and alcohol use disorders. These disorders can have devastating effects on the sufferer and their family, and they can also interfere with work, school, and social activities. They can also lead to financial ruin and suicide. The good news is that there are many treatments for gambling disorders, including psychotherapy and medication. Medications can help to relieve the symptoms of depression and anxiety, which are common in gambling disorder. Psychotherapy can teach a person how to deal with their feelings and thoughts, and can help them to identify the triggers of their gambling problems.

The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the current state of knowledge and evidence about gambling related harms. It is hoped that the discussion will result in a coherent interpretation of gambling harm across treatment providers, policy makers and researchers. Harm minimisation is a key goal of public health approaches to gambling. However, the definition of harm is often ambiguous, and the breadth of experience with gambling is not well understood. This is reflected in the multiple items of harm reported by screening instruments such as the Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI).

This article was written by Dr Karen Avery and Emma Hall, both of University College London.

The study was funded by the Medical Research Council.

The research included focus groups and interviews with individuals who had been affected by gambling. Participants were recruited using advertising on social media, and were interviewed in their own homes or at a central location in London. Interviews were between 30 and 90 minutes long, and all participants were compensated for their time with a store voucher.

The most effective ways to reduce harm from gambling include: limiting money spent on gambling and setting limits for time spent on it. Do not gamble with money that you cannot afford to lose, and never chase your losses – thinking that you are due for a win will only lead to bigger losses. It is also a good idea to try to distract yourself with other activities when the urge to gamble arises. This can be done by talking to a friend, taking up a new hobby or joining a support group such as Gamblers Anonymous.

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