The Costs and Benefits of Problem Gambling


There are a few reasons why people gamble. In many cases, it is a way of self-soothing unpleasant emotions and a social outlet. Exercising, spending time with friends who do not engage in gambling, and practicing relaxation techniques can help relieve boredom. These factors may help you identify if you or someone you know is a problem gambler. But you should also consider what other factors may be contributing to your problem gambling.

Problem gambling

While problem gambling has been recognized for centuries, criteria for diagnosing the disorder have only recently been updated. Originally, the criteria for problem gambling were based on Robert Custer’s work, but over the past 27 years, they have evolved based on more detailed and evaluative studies. These include surveying 222 compulsive gamblers and 104 substance-abusing social gamblers. These studies also used cluster analysis to identify nine symptoms associated with problem gambling.

Types of problem gambling

Although a gambling addiction can be socially acceptable or hidden, it can cause financial ruin. Problem gambling has a variety of different forms, and these categories are not set in stone. In some cases, uncontrollable anxiety can accompany a gambling habit. The National Council on Problem Gambling keeps track of new types, including those originating from social networking sites and mobile devices. It is important to note that problem gambling is a serious and potentially deadly addiction, but it does not have to be the most extreme type.

Impact of problem gambling on society

There are many costs and benefits of problem gambling, both personal and societal. Often, people who become addicted to gambling end up in debt, affecting their finances and reducing their ability to contribute to society. The costs of problem gambling are often invisible, and are therefore difficult to measure. The following is a breakdown of some of the most important costs and benefits of problem gambling. These costs are generally nonmonetary. The costs and benefits are grouped by level of society and include:

Signs of a problem gambler

There are many signs of a problem gambler. Not only do they spend money they don’t have, but they also lie about it. You may also notice them skipping meals or taking time off work. Sudden, drastic changes in their personality are another sign. Problem gamblers may go from friendly to confrontational in an instant. They may even use abusive language, make false accusations, or claim that a particular object owes them money.

Getting help for a problem gambler

Getting help for a problem gambler can be difficult. Admitting that a loved one has a gambling problem can be emotionally challenging and may cause shame, but reaching out to others is the best way to show support and understanding. Also, setting firm boundaries regarding the management of the family’s finances can help the gambler stay accountable and prevent relapse. While it’s easy to be suspicious about a gambling friend or family member, the first and most important responsibility is the gambler’s own safety.