Gambling is a form of risk taking in which an individual puts a value on an unknown outcome. The gambler must consider the risks and the prize he or she stands to win in order to be successful. However, if the gambler is unable to control himself or herself, he or she should seek help from a licensed professional. In this article, we’ll discuss some aspects of gambling and its effects on society and families.
Problem gambling is a mental disorder
While the symptoms of problem gambling have been known for centuries, the definition of this condition has only recently been accepted as a recognized disorder. A term that evokes “gambling mania” was first used by Emil Kraepelin in 1886. Later in the twentieth century, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) published the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Third Edition. The criteria for the diagnosis of problem gambling evolved over 27 years and now focus on a more evaluative process. In this study, researchers surveyed 222 compulsive gamblers and 104 substance-abusing social gamblers, resulting in the identification of nine symptom criteria.
The National Council on Problem Gambling defines pathological gambling as an ongoing behavior that impacts important aspects of a person’s life. It is an addictive behavior that causes the sufferer to repeatedly pursue a gratifying experience, whether that be a high from a drug or an exhilarating win at a game. As such, the behavior of gambling can become so ingrained that it can interfere with social interactions and relationships.
It affects men more than women
While problem gambling is more prevalent in men, this does not mean that women are immune to the effects of this addiction. Research has shown that gambling problems are also more common in women. Women, for example, tend to be less likely to seek treatment for their problem gambling than men. However, men should not overlook the fact that gambling can negatively affect their health. In fact, women are more likely to develop gambling problems than men.
The gender difference in gambling is partly explained by differences in social and emotional behavior. In particular, men are more likely to hide their presence at gambling venues and to ask for loans to finance their behavior. In addition, men are more likely than women to engage in gambling activities despite being less comfortable with the concept. But regardless of the gender differences in gambling, both genders are vulnerable to the negative consequences of these behaviors. Fortunately, treatment options are available for men and women who suffer from this addiction.
It affects families more than individuals
When a problem gambler becomes addicted to casino games, it can devastate relationships within the family. Not only can family members lose trust in the gambler, but they may also begin to hide their feelings and avoid contact with other family members. Arguments can escalate into physical violence and children may even become pawns in these fights. Even when a problem gambler doesn’t win, his or her actions are a warning sign for other family members.
Financial consequences of gambling are devastating. Over three-quarters of gamblers and two-thirds of those affected have outstanding debt due to their gambling problems. In addition, more than a third of affected families reported that they were unable to meet basic needs. Mental health problems also contribute to problem gambling. Almost two-thirds of problem gamblers have experienced psychological distress, while nine out of ten report experiencing emotional distress.
It affects society more than individuals
The impacts of gambling on society are numerous and can be observed at the personal, interpersonal, and societal levels. Individuals close to the gambler can suffer a variety of effects, from financial instability to homelessness. The impact on society as a whole may be even more extensive than the individual’s suffering, as the effects can range from decades to entire generations. There are key methodological challenges associated with assessing these impacts.
One study found that about 60% of problem gamblers were out of paid work for more than a month, and 30 percent reported receiving social benefits during that time. While some argue that the lack of employment is not the result of gambling, other literature has shown that problem gamblers have poorer work performance, which could ultimately lead to criminal actions in the workplace. In addition, problem gamblers are also less likely to engage in regular exercise, as well as seek health care.