Healthy Living: The more you know about gambling

Norwich Bulletin
Healthy Living: The more you know about gambling
Wild Casino

For many of us, playing the lottery, going to the casino for slots or blackjack, betting on sports, or buying a scratch ticket is a form of fun and entertainment. But for some of us, it can turn into problem gambling. Let’s look at some risk factors, but first, let’s clarify a few questions.

What exactly is gambling? Gambling is the act of betting money or something of value on an event with an uncertain outcome with the goal of winning money or something of value.

What makes problem gambling a problem? This is when we no longer have control over the amount of money, time, and energy we spend on gambling. We might continue to gamble even if we are experiencing negative consequences. You might notice your gambling is hurting your finances, work/school, relationships, and your mental health.

Anyone can develop an addiction to gambling but knowing the risk factors can be helpful. Let’s look at some circumstances that may put you more at risk for problem gambling:

  • Family history – If someone in your family has a history of gambling disorder or other addictions, particularly if they are your parents
  • Personal history – If you experienced or witnessed a big win at a young age or early on in your gambling
  • Drugs and alcohol – If you drink heavily or use illegal drugs
  • Mental health – If you have other mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, personality disorders, or psychotic disorders
  • Financial difficulties – If you are struggling financially or are unemployed
  • Physical health – If you have poor physical health or multiple physical health conditions

Now that you are aware of some of the risk factors of problem gambling, let’s identify some strategies to keep gambling safe and affordable:

  • Set limits on the amount of time and money you are gambling and plan to stick to it
  • Look at gambling as entertainment
  • Balance gambling with other leisure activities and hobbies

You don’t have to be in a financial crisis to have a gambling problem. If you suspect you or someone you know is engaging in problem gambling or is at risk and heading in that direction, help is available. Please call us at Bettor Choice (860) 823-3094. We provide individual and group services for adults struggling with gambling, as well as counseling for those affected by it.