Health Consequences of Gambling
Health consequences of gambling
Compared with other types of health conditions, the health consequences of gambling are far greater than for people who do not gamble. In addition to reduced familial stability, problem gamblers have lower physical and mental health than the general population. Common health consequences of gambling include depressive mood, insomnia, and headaches. Problem gamblers often experience digestive problems. Further, there are social inequities and costs associated with gambling. Fortunately, there are some ways to mitigate the adverse effects of gambling.
One study of university students found that problem gambling is associated with lower academic achievement, higher stress levels, and poorer physical and social relationships. However, this study had several limitations. For one, the sample was small, and it did not control for confounders. The sample also was cross-sectional, which means that the direction of causality of the effect cannot be determined. Furthermore, the study used online surveys, which are less reliable than in-person assessments.
The treatment of compulsive gambling involves several types of therapy, including behavioral, cognitive, and family therapies. Behavioral therapies aim to break bad habits and replace them with healthy ones. Cognitive behavioral therapy involves identifying problematic thoughts and replacing them with positive ones. Support groups can help a person cope with compulsive gambling, while family therapy helps them avoid triggering situations. Gambling-addicted people may also benefit from antidepressants and mood stabilizers. Narcotic antagonists are another form of treatment.
The DSM-5 recognizes gambling as a potential behavioral addiction. Usually, addiction is defined as a physical and psychological dependence on a substance or behavior. A person with a dependence on a substance develops a progressively larger need for it until the amount is so high that the person will continue to use it despite the effects. Additionally, a person with a gambling addiction tends to be reckless with their finances, and is often in denial.
Prevention of gambling is a key element in tackling problem gambling, but few studies have examined the effectiveness of various preventive initiatives. While some programs have increased knowledge about gambling, problem gambling, and associated fallacies, others have failed to demonstrate actual changes in behavioural patterns. While improving gambling knowledge and attitudes are important outcomes, these studies have only been able to demonstrate a limited impact on problem gambling. Ultimately, the prevention of gambling needs to be tailored to the specific needs of its target population.
As a starting point, NCPG should adopt a comprehensive approach to disordered gambling prevention. Effective prevention programs combine several different strategies, including educational outreach, public information, and problem identification. Education outreach includes both two-way communication and information dissemination. Lastly, prevention programs must take into account the continuum of care for a gambling problem. For example, prevention services should target youth and young adults, and include a continuum of care.