Gambling is an activity that involves placing a bet on an event with a chance of winning money. It can be an exciting pastime that can offer a rush of adrenaline when the odds are in your favour but for many it can turn into a vicious cycle of lost money and ruined relationships. It can also have a negative impact on society as a whole. The money that gamblers lose can cause financial difficulties for those around them such as their families, friends and employers who have to pick up the tab for addiction treatment and other services. In addition, many people who gamble end up in debt, which can lead to bankruptcy or homelessness.
Various research has highlighted the problems associated with gambling. However, it can be difficult to quantify these effects in monetary terms. This is because some harms that occur as a result of gambling are not easily measurable or even recognised by individuals. For example, it can be difficult to quantify the social costs of gambling such as those incurred by family members who care for gamblers and by others who suffer from the consequences of gambling.
In the UK, it is estimated that the cost of gambling to society is AUS$8-$11 billion per year. This includes gambling addiction treatment, welfare payments to the disabled and children who have been abandoned by their parents as a result of gambling. The costs also include the loss of jobs and other income sources. The study interviewed nine participants, all female, who were the immediate family members of gamblers. They were questioned in private in restaurants in London. The interviews were conducted by a trained social worker.
The main themes that emerged from the interviews were truth-denial, guilt and shame, mental health issues and strained relationships. Participants described the negative effects of gambling on their family as devastating. They reported that they had a sense of hopelessness, self-blame and inability to control their emotions. The participants also reported that their family had suffered from poverty and that they were often tempted to gamble for quick money.
The biggest step towards breaking the cycle of gambling is recognising that there is a problem. Then it is important to take action. It is possible to break the habit and rebuild a life of happiness. Having the support of loved ones and a professional counsellor can help. Alternatively, online therapy is available and can help you find a therapist that fits your needs. This service is fast, affordable and confidential. You can be matched with a therapist in as little as 48 hours. So don’t wait any longer – start your journey to recovery today!