Gambling and Its Effects on Health and Relationships

Gambling Jul 8, 2024

Gambling involves risking something of value on an activity based on chance in the hope of realizing a profit. It has existed in virtually every society since prerecorded history and is incorporated into local customs, traditions and rites of passage. For many people, gambling is a recreational and social activity, but for others it has serious negative effects on family, friends, finances, work performance and mental health.

It is estimated that more than one billion individuals participate in gambling each year. While some people are able to gamble responsibly, a large number overindulge and often incur debts that interfere with their ability to support themselves and their families. In addition, gambling can trigger addictions and other harmful behaviors.

Regulatory bodies oversee the operation of modern casinos and establish strict guidelines for maintaining a safe environment for players. These standards include implementing protocols to identify and address problem gambling behavior, training casino staff to spot signs of addiction, and offering addiction treatment services to guests who seek it. The industry also contributes to local economies by creating jobs and stimulating tourism dollars.

Those who are concerned about the impact of gambling on their health, relationships and life goals can take an online assessment at BetterHelp, a free service that matches you with licensed therapists who are experts in treating addictions. They can help you develop strategies to reduce compulsive gambling, such as avoiding triggers (taking alternate routes to and from work or changing the channel when watching sports) and challenging unhelpful thought patterns like the illusion of control, irrational beliefs, and the gambler’s fallacy.